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Judge considers LI banana distributor's request for release

Tom Hoey, left, and Tom Hoey Jr. in

Tom Hoey, left, and Tom Hoey Jr. in front of Long Island Banana Co., in Lynbrook on May 5, 1997. Credit: Newsday / Julia Gaines

A federal judge in Manhattan on Monday reserved decision on granting bail to millionaire businessman Thomas Hoey, the Long Island Banana Co. owner charged in December with supplying the cocaine that killed a woman at a 2009 sex party.

Hoey's defense team last week asked U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel to reconsider his detention order. In a court filing they said revenue at his fruit distributorship already dropped off by $1.6 million year-over-year for the two months he has been in custody.

More than 20 employees and relatives wrote Castel expressing concern for their jobs and vouching for his character -- including a sister who enclosed pictures of the banana executive posing with former President George W. Bush, former Gov. George Pataki and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In addition to cocaine charges, Hoey, 45, of Garden City, is accused of suborning perjury. Prosecutors say he has foreign connections, is a flight risk and might again obstruct justice. After a hearing, Castel said he would issue a ruling later.

The judge set a Sept. 2 trial date.

In a separate state court case charging Hoey with assaulting a girlfriend and tampering with evidence, a judge in Manhattan on Monday set a Feb. 18 trial date.


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