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Jury being chosen in assault case against LI banana firm owner

Jury selection began on Wednesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court in the trial of Long Island businessman Thomas Hoey Jr. on charges that he assaulted his girlfriend.

Hoey, 46, of Garden City, the head of the Long Island Banana Corp. of Lynbrook, is currently jailed on federal drug and obstruction of justice charges relating to the 2009 overdose death of a woman at a sex party he allegedly hosted.

In addition, his company -- a regional produce distributor -- is currently not functioning due to financial problems, and it has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in federal bankruptcy court on Long Island.

The assault charge relates to a 2012 incident in a Manhattan apartment building when police responded to a call from a neighbor of the alleged victim. Hoey also is charged with tampering with evidence.

The girlfriend, according to court papers, has denied that she was assaulted, and prosecutors hope to present testimony from family members and other evidence to buttress their case by showing an "abusive history."

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