The acting State Supreme Court justice presiding over the illegal dumping case in Suffolk is pushing for plea deals between the defendants and the district attorney to avoid a lengthy, complicated trial, one defendant's lawyer says.
John Carman, counsel for Atlas Asphalt owner Ronald Cianciulli, said outside of court Thursday after a conference with Justice Fernando Camacho that recent chamber talks have included plea offers.
"The judge is determined to try to help reach a resolution of some of these cases . . . He's encouraging communication and encouraging the DA to be open to creative ways of resolving" them, Carman said.
Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, did not respond to a call and an email for comment. A message left for Camacho in his chambers in Central Islip was not returned.
At least four of the six men in the case involving dumping of tens of thousands of tons of contaminated materials across four sites in Islip and Babylon towns have been offered plea deals, including Tom Datre Jr., Tom Datre Sr., Christopher Grabe, of Islandia Recycling, and Cianciulli, their attorneys confirmed to Newsday.
The attorneys have said their clients will not accept the offers.
Cianciulli's felony plea offer includes 6 months in jail, probation and conditions that he help pay for the cleanup of contaminated debris dumped at the sensitive wetlands area in Deer Park, Carman said.
The charges against the individuals and businesses in the case include conspiracy, criminal mischief and multiple violations of state environmental laws. They carry potential penalties including imprisonment and millions of dollars in fines.
"This is a very complicated case. There's so many moving parts to it from the political to the media aspect of it, so I think the judge is recognizing that it has the potential to be a very long, drawn-out battle to the finish," Carman said.
Patrick O'Connell, attorney for Brett A. Robinson, a former secretary to the parks commissioner in Islip Town, said Wednesday after a conference with Camacho that his client was not offered a deal. Former Islip parks Commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr.'s lawyer, John Halverson, would not comment Wednesday when asked in a phone interview if his client was made an offer.
A prosecutor has labeled Datre Jr. the "mastermind" in a scheme to illegally dump at the Deer Park site; Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood; a six-home subdivision in Islandia for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; and a private lot on Islip Avenue in Central Islip. All six defendants have pleaded not guilty to the allegations of having played a role in the dumping.