The wife of former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato has started legal action against Nassau County and its police department, claiming law enforcement officials “falsely imprisoned her” in a hospital last year while “acting in concert” with her estranged husband — causing her to lose custody of their children.
The D’Amatos, who are divorcing, are in a child custody battle following a September police response to their former marital home in Lido Beach after Katuria D’Amato called 911 to report supposed intruders.
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lorintz granted the ex-senator temporary custody of the children in October. He also issued a stay-away order to the children’s mother after Alfonse D’Amato questioned her mental stability following that Sept. 30 police response, which led to her involuntary hospital admission.
Separately Friday, Katuria D’Amato and her attorney, Thomas Liotti, also filed paperwork in the custody proceeding seeking the dismissal of the judge’s temporary custody and stay-away orders. Among other aims, it also seeks Lorintz’s recusal from the case, and for all matrimonial matters to be handled in a Manhattan court — where Katuria D’Amato, an attorney, filed for divorce Oct. 3.
She has said the former senator’s legal action in seeking custody of their children, now 8 and 9, was retaliation for the divorce petition she filed after her three-day hospital stay.
A Nassau police spokesman and a county spokesman said Friday in response to Katuria D’Amato’s notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — that they couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
Alfonse D’Amato’s attorney, Stephen Gassman, said allegations in the notice of claim were “baseless and bogus.”
Dated Tuesday, the filing claims Katuria D’Amato was subject to false arrest and imprisonment, assault, battery, privacy invasion, defamation and civil rights violations.
It also says the accused parties “were misled, influenced and deceived by the former senator,” and claims he is “neurologically impaired” and was “vindictively motivated” to have Katuria D’Amato brought into custody to gain an advantage in the child custody case he soon initiated.
Gassman on Friday called the claim about the ex-senator’s being impaired “absolutely false” and “an attempt to slander” his client.
The claim also alleges that police officials who testified at the couple’s custody proceeding “gave false and perjurious testimony” and “were no doubt influenced by the title of the former United States senator as well as his long standing political contacts.”
Police testified that Katuria D’Amato told them on Sept. 30 that she’d been unsuccessfully trying to load a shotgun to protect herself against people she believed her husband let into their home — people who wanted to kidnap her and who hid behind green lasers.
The doctor who treated Katuria D’Amato, 52, at the hospital testified he thought she’d experienced drug-induced psychosis from taking too much Ritalin for her attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The 80-year-old ex-senator testified that his wife had delusions hours before her 911 call, when she began photographing what she said were green lasers being shot at the house from the dunes.