Mets closer Jeurys Familia pleaded not guilty to a domestic violence charge at Fort Lee (N.J.) Municipal Court Thursday morning. His next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 15.
The alleged victim also was in court. Judge John DeSheplo barred media from identifying the victim or taking photos of the victim in the courtroom. The judge granted Familia’s request to remove the condition of his release that bars any contact between the victim and him.
Familia left the courthouse with his arm around his wife, Bianca. They remained embraced as about a dozen photographers accompanied them to their Range Rover, which was parked behind the court building. The couple declined to comment.
Familia, who recently starred in an anti-domestic violence public service campaign, was arrested Oct. 31 on a simple-assault charge. Police allege that Familia, 27, caused “bodily injury to another” person, citing a scratch on the person’s chest and a bruise to the right cheek.
DeSheplo told Familia during the seven-minute hearing that even if the victim decides not to cooperate with authorities, the prosecutors still can go forward with the case. Asked if he understood, Familia nodded.
If convicted, Familia faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and two-year probation, the judge said.
Dressed in a silver suit, Familia was flanked at the defendant’s table by his attorney, Paul Brickfield, on his left, and an interpreter on his right. The victim and attorney Cathy Fleming sat to the left of the prosecutors.
Asked afterward what’s the next step in the case, Brickfield said only, “We try to resolve it.” He declined further comment.
Fleming, the victim’s attorney, also declined to comment.
The Mets have said they are “monitoring the situation.” Major League Baseball, which can suspend players under the terms of its domestic violence policy, has launched its own investigation into Familia.
Familia last month appeared in a video for an anti-domestic violence campaign run by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Familia’s video no longer is available on the campaign’s website.
Familia’s name on the complaint filed with Fort Lee Municipal Court is listed as Jeurys F Mojica; that’s how he was referred to during the brief proceeding on Thursday.