Critic seeks info on cashed village checks
The trial of a village critic accused of assaulting the Saddle Rock mayor was adjourned early Tuesday to give the village time to produce more documents centering around corruption allegations against the mayor.
The request for the documents came from Bob McDonald, defense attorney for Sasha Masri, who faces a felony assault charge and three misdemeanors in connection with the Oct. 3 attack on Mayor Dan Levy after a village board meeting.
Village trustee David Schwartz testified last week that an auditing firm discovered that Levy had village checks issued to a corporation, then brought the checks to a bank and cashed them himself.
McDonald said the findings were contained in a December 2012 letter from the auditors to the village. He requested from the village a copy of that letter, along with emails and other communications around the findings.
But Saddle Rock Village Attorney James Murphy argued the documents had nothing to do with the matter under trial.
"We just see it as more or less a fishing expedition, turning the case on its head," Murphy said before Acting Justice Philip Grella, who is presiding over the bench trial in State Supreme Court in Mineola.
Assistant District Attorney Christine Geier also argued against the request.
But Grella ruled that McDonald's request could go forward, and appeared to chide Geier for trying to keep the documents out of the trial.
"The DA's office somehow objects to scrutiny of allegations of corruption?" Grella asked Geier.
"There's no objection to scrutiny of corruption," Geier responded. But, she added, "That's not this trial."
According to Schwartz's court testimony, the alleged assault occurred after a village board meeting last October, when Masri approached Schwartz, who was sitting next to Levy.
As Masri questioned Schwartz about the village's financials and recent audit, Levy told him to stop talking to Masri, calling him a "loser."
Masri and Levy exchanged profanities, after which Masri assaulted Levy, Schwartz testified.
The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday with Levy's cross-examination.