A lawyer for a Nassau police officer facing felony assault charges asked a judge Wednesday to order that the alleged victim can't testify at a trial after failing to turn over medical records.
"It's an act of defiance as we see it," said attorney William Petrillo, who represents Officer Vincent LoGiudice, 34.
A grand jury indicted LoGiudice after a store camera recorded what prosecutors alleged was the beating of motorist Kyle Howell at an April 25 traffic stop in Westbury. He pleaded not guilty.
Howell, now 21, suffered facial fractures, and the charges accuse LoGiudice of repeatedly striking Howell in the head and face.
Acting state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington on Wednesday ordered Howell to be in court for a June 8 hearing to testify about medical records. She had previously said she'd privately review the records, and make disclosures to the defense if needed.
Before that, another judge granted an interim order providing only some medical record access after a request from prosectors. However, LoGiudice sought more information, including Howell's mental health records. The defense argued those records might be "useful" in determining if Howell can accurately recall the events, and if he may have "resisted arrest due to paranoid or delusional thinking."
Nassau prosecutor Jesse Aviram said Wednesday authorities would strongly oppose Howell not being allowed to testify at the trial.
Howell's civil attorney, Amy Marion, said Wednesday that he won't turn over the records in question, and prosecutors shouldn't have consented to a judge's private review of them.
"This is a travesty of justice," Marion said. "Everybody keeps forgetting there is a videotape showing this officer pummeling my client."
LoGiudice and Officer Basil Gomez had arrested Howell on charges that included assaulting them and marijuana possession. They alleged he tried to eat a bag of marijuana and a struggle started.
Authorities later dropped the charges. While Howell told news media he didn't fight the police or have drugs, he later told prosecutors he'd lied and had marijuana with him at the traffic stop.
Howell's parents and a spokesman for prosecutors declined to comment Wednesday