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Judge dismisses criminal contempt charge against Katuria D'Amato in neighbor dispute

The judge ruled that the description of Katuria D'Amato's alleged behavior "doesn't amount to criminal conduct."

Attorney Thomas Liotti and his client Katuria D'Amato,

Attorney Thomas Liotti and his client Katuria D'Amato, seen in an undated photo, discuss a lawsuit against her husband, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. Credit: Shelby Knowles

A judge Tuesday dismissed a misdemeanor criminal contempt charge against the estranged wife of former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato that stemmed from her August arrest for allegedly violating a protective order relating to a dispute with Lido Beach neighbors. 

District Court Judge Tricia Ferrell found the rights of Katuria D'Amato, 53, to a speedy trial were violated and that there were "also no allegations of threats ever being communicated."

The judge added in her written ruling that the description of Katuria D'Amato's alleged behavior "doesn't amount to criminal conduct."

Katuria D'Amato is locked in a bitter child custody battle  with the former senator as the two divorce.

Her attorney, Thomas Liotti, claimed at the time of her August arrest that the neighbors in question were "abusing the system to have her arrested and embarrassed" so that Alfonse D'Amato would get an advantage in the couple's matrimonial court fight — a claim his attorney strongly denied.

Court papers showed Katuria D'Amato's misdemeanor arrest came after her neighbor, Catherine Cash, claimed the woman gave her "the middle finger" on July 31 and cursed at her after Cash looked out a window and saw D'Amato gesturing in her own Buxton Street driveway.

The criminal contempt allegation followed a June 25 dispute that Katuria D'Amato had with Cash's husband, James Cash, which led Nassau police in early July to charge the estranged senator's wife with a noncriminal harassment violation.

In the initial case, police alleged Katuria D'Amato berated the male neighbor and cursed at him before chest-bumping him — an encounter that led to a no-harassment order.

But Katuria D'Amato told prosecutors in a complaint that James Cash had told her son "how terrible" she was before they exchanged words. She also has denied chest-bumping him.

The harassment case remains pending, according to court records.

"I feel vindicated. I didn't do anything wrong," Katuria D'Amato said Tuesday in a phone interview about the misdemeanor dismissal.

Prosecutors, who opposed the dismissal, declined to comment.

The Cashes couldn't immediately be reached Tuesday by phone.

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