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Judge assigned to Bonilla case recuses self

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla outside his

Town of Hempstead Clerk Mark Bonilla outside his office in Hempstead, New York. (Oct. 1, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The judge assigned to oversee the criminal case against Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla has recused himself, saying he has a conflict of interest, according to court documents.

District Court Judge Francis Ricigliano signed an order Sept. 28, asking the chief judge of the court to reassign the case, according to court papers.

Ricigliano is married to Supervisor Kate Murray's sister, Nassau court spokesman Dan Bagnuola said. "Although the judge was confident that he could be fair and impartial, he felt that it was important to avoid any appearance or perception of impropriety," Bagnuola said Tuesday. He had not presided over Bonilla's appearances, Bagnuola said.

Bonilla 50, of Bellmore, was charged last month with trying to obtain intimate photos of a female subordinate after she filed sexual harassment claim against him. He is charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petty larceny. He pleaded not guilty to three original charges and will enter a plea to two revised charges, as well as the added second count of official misconduct, on Oct. 26 in District Court in Hempstead.

Murray has asked Bonilla to resign, but he has yet to do so.

Bonilla's attorney, Adrian DiLuzio of Mineola, could not be reached.

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