The psychiatrist who treated the estranged wife of former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato after police forced her to go to a hospital in September testified Wednesday he believed she had experienced drug-induced psychosis from too much Ritalin.
Dr. Nnamdi Odiah of South Nassau Communities Hospital also said Katuria D’Amato was suffering from paranoia when he saw her in the emergency room on Sept. 30 before admitting her for further observation.
The psychiatrist testified that the patient reported seeing things before he examined her that he believed were hallucinations. He said she also described seeing lights and dots that weren’t there.
Odiah said the woman told him she was seeing a therapist, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder — which Ritalin treats.
The testimony in Nassau County matrimonial court was part of a hearing to determine whether the former senator will keep temporary custody of the couple’s two children, ages 7 and 9, as the D’Amatos go through a divorce.
State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lorintz awarded Alfonse D’Amato custody in an October emergency order after the Republican power broker, who is 80, questioned his estranged spouse’s mental stability following the police response to their former marital home in Lido Beach.
Police testimony has shown the wife, a 51-year-old lawyer, told law enforcement officials at the scene that she’d hid in a closet and unsuccessfully tried to load a shotgun before calling 911 to report intruders. Katuria D’Amato also told police she’d been trying to load the 20-gauge shotgun, but couldn’t find a key to its gun lock, according to law enforcement testimony.
Police said in court they found the gun, its cable lock intact, in a box that also contained a few shotgun rounds and keys.
She also told police she believed her estranged husband — sleeping elsewhere in the home — would let in intruders who hid behind green laser beams, according to the police officials’ testimony. Police said in court she played home surveillance videos that she said showed the lasers, but that they weren’t there.
Katuria D’Amato’s attorney, Joseph De Simone, has accused Alfonse D’Amato of seeking the emergency custody order in retaliation for his client’s Oct. 3 divorce filing.
The psychiatrist also testified Wednesday under questioning by the ex-senator’s attorney, Stephen Gassman, that he “couldn’t say 100 percent” that a Ritalin overdose caused Katuria D’Amato’s psychosis. But he told De Simone her symptoms dissipated after he reduced her Ritalin dosages. The attorney said outside court that his client’s PTSD was from a car crash that also left her needing several surgeries.
Testimony continues Thursday.