An Amityville man representing himself at his murder trial in Suffolk County has filed a federal lawsuit against the judge, prosecutor, his former lawyer and almost every agency connected with the case, claiming a "clear conspiracy" by all to violate his rights.
Jonathan Thompson, 34, is seeking $500 million and a stay of his trial, which begins Thursday with jury selection. He is accused of hitting his girlfriend's son, 4-year-old Adonis Reed, because he wouldn't take a nap and causing the boy's death in January 2013. In the handwritten lawsuit filed last month, Thompson said the boy died from overzealous resuscitation efforts by first responders and medical malpractice at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. The hospital has declined to comment.
In Suffolk County Court Wednesday, Thompson tried to get Judge Barbara Kahn and Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl removed from his case, in part by claiming they have a conflict of interest because of the suit he filed. In his papers, Thompson said Pearl has made "false and prejudicial statements . . . to the media."
In court, Pearl said, "I don't see any actual conflict. I have said nothing to the media creating a conflict, and I am indemnified, even if I am sued."
Kahn said Thompson set forth no reason to disqualify either Pearl or herself, and she also denied his request to move the trial out of Suffolk County. She asked Thompson to clarify an earlier motion he made to bar reporters from his trial.
He said coverage has prejudiced the pool of potential jurors against him and would continue to make it difficult for jurors to be fair. Judges routinely order jurors to ignore news coverage of a case several times a day during trials.
"There is no basis under law to exclude the media from a public trial," Kahn told Thompson.
In addition to Kahn, Pearl and Good Samaritan Hospital, Thompson also names as defendants in his suit the Suffolk Police Department, the medical examiner's office, Family Court, Child Protective Services, the Amityville Fire Department and his former lawyer, Joseph Hanshe, still serving as Thompson's legal adviser.
In the suit, Thompson said Pearl falsely claimed he confessed to punching the boy and causing his injuries. In Thompson's videotaped confession, he demonstrates giving the boy two hard, backhanded hits.
But in the suit, Thompson said the boy's death was hastened when emergency room workers put a breathing tube down his esophagus instead of his trachea, preventing his breathing.
Thompson faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.