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Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla's trial begins

Left, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and members

Left, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and members of the Hempstead Town Board at the press conference where they called upon Town Clerk Mark Bonilla to resign his post in the wake of a credible allegation of sexual harassment, among other issues. Right, Bonilla leaves Nassau District Court after being arraigned in Hempstead. (Sept. 22, 2012) Credit: Karen Wiles Stabile; Howard Schnapp

Opening statements are scheduled to start Monday in the trial of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, who is accused of official misconduct related to allegations he tried to get "intimate and personal photographs" of a female subordinate who accused him of sexual harassment.

Bonilla, who has resisted calls to step down, was charged in September with three misdemeanors, according to a criminal complaint.

Bonilla's attorney, Adrian DiLuzio of Mineola, said he expects opening statements to be heard by early afternoon. Bonilla has waived his right to a jury, DiLuzio said.

DiLuzio and the Nassau County district attorney's office must finish arguments about what evidence is admissible in the case before opening statements and testimony can begin.

"It's a very complicated case," DiLuzio said. "I'm trying to keep the trial confined to what it is."

The district attorney's office declined to comment. The prosecutor in the case is Jed Painter, and the judge is Sharon Gianelli.

Bonilla, a Republican, has been the town clerk for about a decade and is paid $129,500 a year. He has continued to hold the post despite calls from Supervisor Kate Murray, also a Republican, for him to step down.

Hempstead's Republican Party dropped Bonilla from its slate of candidates for the fall elections. He does not intend to run in a primary, DiLuzio said.

Republicans picked Nasrin Ahmad, an administrative supervisor in Bonilla's office, in May to run for the position. Democrats picked insurance law attorney Jasmine Garcia-Vieux.

Bonilla is charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petty larceny, and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

His trial is taking place at First District Court in Hempstead.

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