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Cops: Cedarhurst justice hosted wedding that violated social distancing

The Cedarhurst village justice found himself on the wrong side of the law Wednesday, or at least new social distancing rules designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Andrew Goldsmith, the village justice in Cedarhurst, was issued a summons by the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office for “willful violation of the public health laws 12 B” after he hosted his daughter’s wedding with a crowd of 100 guests and onlookers on the front lawn of his West Broadway home, according to Nassau police.

The violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.

Goldsmith, who did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday, attempted to follow the rules, according to a copy of an emailed wedding invitation he sent Wednesday morning for the 3 p.m. nuptials.

“Please do not congregate on the sidewalk as we are strictly adhering to guidelines set by the Nassau County fire marshals office,” Goldsmith wrote in the email invitation obtained by Newsday. “As you know we’re always happy to welcome you into our yard and home — just not today!”
He added: “We look forward to sharing our virtual simcha with you!” referring to the wedding celebration.

But Goldsmith had been warned against holding the gathering at all, according to a county official, who said Goldsmith was personally told by the fire marshal a week and a half earlier and by the police that same day “that he could not have a large gathering for this event.”

Nassau police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said some of the wedding attendees were wearing masks and social distancing, while others weren’t. Still, LeBrun said, the marriage ceremony was completed before police asked everyone to leave.

“The marriage was finalized,” said LeBrun. “They listened to police and dispersed.”

Cedarhurst Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said he was invited to attend the wedding of Goldsmith’s daughter, who is a doctor, virtually, via Zoom video conferencing.

“He’s an upstanding person,” Weinstock said. “I’ve never known him to deliberately violate any law. …I expect that if he got a summons, that he’ll deal with it appropriately.”

Weinstock said he didn’t end up watching on Zoom, but he had seen a video clip of the wedding gathering on social media, that appeared to show “up-tempo” music playing and several Nassau police cars and fire marshal vehicles on scene.

Weinstock said he didn’t know if the crowd of people were invited guests or just curious onlookers.

“I imagine if you hear music on the street you might stick your head outside,” he said.

Goldsmith has been a fixture in the village justice system, having been elected village justice in 2013, according to a village newsletter. Previous to that, he was acting village justice for 12 years.

“It was a privilege to be asked to run and it’s a deep honor to be elected,” Goldsmith said in 2013. “I will do everything in my power to serve the people of Cedarhurst.”

Goldsmith is due in First District Court in Hempstead on May 26. 

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