FORT LEE, N.J. — The simple assault case against Mets closer Jeurys Familia was dismissed Thursday morning after a Fort Lee Municipal Court judge said he is satisfied that Familia’s wife is not fearful for her safety.
Fort Lee Municipal Court judge John DiSheplo agreed to dismiss the case against Familia — which stemmed from an early-morning arrest on Oct. 31 — after interviewing Familia’s wife, Bianca Rivas, during the 10-minute hearing.
Flanked by her attorney, Cathy Fleming, and prosecutor Arthur Balsamo, Rivas told the judge that she was not threatened and was not offered any money in exchange for asking the prosecutor to abandon the charge.
The police officer who arrested Familia at his home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, after his wife’s 911 call also stood at the prosecutor’s table and was fine with the prosecutor’s decision to drop the case, Balsamo said.
“She feels she and her child are not in danger,” Balsamo said. He added that he believes Rivas is being “truthful” and that it’s “appropriate” to dismiss the charge.
“She’s been steadfast that the matter be dismissed,” Balsamo said.
Balsamo met with Rivas and her attorney for about five minutes in a back room before the start of the hearing. Afterward, he told the judge that the scratch on Rivas’ chest that was cited in the initial complaint was from their young child, not a result of the incident. The mark on her cheek, cited in the initial complaint, was caused by Rivas pressing on it, Balsamo said.
Balsamo also said there was a “troublesome” photo that showed two knives in the background. But he said Rivas told him those were not used by Familia as a threat, but rather to barricade himself in a bathroom.
Rivas had described Familia as “drunk” and “crazy” in a 911 call that morning.
Familia stayed silent during the hearing. The judge told him that he was taking into account the many years of experience of his attorney, Rivas’ attorney and the prosecutor in agreeing to drop the charge.
Familia and his wife were allowed to leave out a back door of the courtroom, where their car was waiting for them. Familia’s attorney, Paul Brickfield, said only that they were “happy” the case was dropped.
Familia also was accompanied in court by Jay Reisinger, an attorney who is representing him with regard to any possible suspension by Major League Baseball. Asked if he is hopeful that MLB will see this as a unique case because of the explanations raised in court, Reisinger said: “That will weigh with MLB attorneys.”
He declined to say whether he has communicated with MLB, which is investigating the incident.
The Mets said in a statement: “We will await the outcome of MLB’s investigation.”