Nassau police arrested the estranged wife of former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato on Friday, accusing her of violating a protective order a judge awarded her Lido Beach neighbors last month following an earlier dispute.
Katuria D’Amato, 52, later pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor criminal contempt charge at a Hempstead district court arraignment. Judge Elizabeth Fox-McDonough released her on her own recognizance.
Court papers show neighbor Catherine Cash, 50, claimed D’Amato gave her “the middle finger” on July 31 and cursed at her after Cash looked out a window and saw D’Amato gesturing in her own Buxton Street home's driveway.
D'Amato surrendered to police Friday before they booked her and brought her to court.
The mother of two is locked in a bitter child custody dispute with the former senator as they divorce. She and her Garden City attorney, Thomas Liotti, have claimed she is suffering ongoing harassment due to an effort by Alfonse D’Amato to discredit her.
Katuria D'Amato previously has alleged Catherine Cash and her husband, James Cash, are “friendly” with her estranged husband, have security cameras pointed at her home, and report to him on her daily activities.
She also has claimed Catherine Cash, identified in court papers as a Suffolk police officer, called Nassau police and Alfonse D'Amato to the scene of a June 25 dispute Katuria D'Amato had with James Cash. Katuria D'Amato recently filed a $5 million lawsuit against the couple, her neighbors for more than a decade, alleging claims such as defamation and making a false police report.
“These people are abusing the system to have her arrested and embarrassed so that Alfonse D’Amato gets an advantage in this matrimonial case. Therefore, she doesn’t look good and he’ll play that for what it’s worth,” Liotti said after Friday's arraignment.
“He’s a corrupt bully and he’s gonna keep doing it until someone stops him,” Katuria D’Amato, freshly sprung from handcuffs, said Friday of her estranged husband.
She also told reporters she'd been "talking to the corruption detectives and the FBI" about him.
But Alfonse D’Amato's attorney, Stephen Gassman, said in an interview Friday his client "has done nothing wrong," and called Katuria D'Amato's comments "another part of her paranoia and her attempt to gain an advantage in the matrimonial case."
The Garden City attorney added: "Senator D'Amato has absolutely nothing to do with her inability to get along with her neighbors or anybody else. Blaming Senator D'Amato for all the ills of her life has to stop."
The former GOP senator, 81, also released a statement Friday through a spokesman saying the safety and well-being of the children — who are 8 and 10 — "will remain the most important aspect" of his life.
"In regards to this specific matter, I have not in any way, shape or form been involved in orchestrating this incident, spoken to my neighbors about this matter or addressed the police. This has been, and remains, a matter of personal heartbreak and a family tragedy," the statement added.
Police first arrested Katuria D’Amato on July 11, charging her with a noncriminal harassment violation in connection with the June dispute.
The judge kept a no-harassment order that stemmed from that arrest in place Friday, but wouldn’t issue a full stay-away order and also turned down the prosecution’s request for $5,000 bail.
Police previously alleged in a sworn court document regarding the June dispute that Katuria D’Amato berated James Cash and cursed at him as he walked past her house with his son, before chest-bumping him.
In contrast, Katuria D’Amato told prosecutors in a June 26 statement that James Cash told her son “how terrible” she was while walking past her house before they exchanged words.
Katuria D’Amato, who is an attorney, also alleged in her statement to prosecutors that Nassau police “harassed and threatened” her while acting “in cooperation” with her estranged husband and the Cashes.
The couple couldn't be reached Friday at a phone listing for their home.
Katuria D'Amato also recently sued the district attorney’s office, demanding prosecutors charge the Cashes with filing a false police report against her. The Lido Beach resident also previously filed notices of claim against Nassau police, alleging police were colluding with her husband against her.