The Kabot Hearing, Day 3

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Kabot Hearing, Day 3

Updated 07/19/2010 – 11:18 pm

Westhampton Beach Police Sergeant Nicholas Fusco calmly and surely disposed of a major lynchpin of the defense's "conspiracy!" theory this afternoon in a Riverhead Town courtroom in front of Justice Allen Smith.

Sergeant Fusco was questioned under oath by attorney William Keahon and asked about what the Supervising Officer on the scene, Steven McManus, said when Sergeants Fusco and Thomas Hubbard responded to the location of Linda Kabot's DWI stop last Labor Day.

"Did he say 'We got her!?'"

"No," Fusco testified. "He said 'Look who we got' and showed my partner her license."

Keahon pressed on: "Did Officer McManus run up to your vehicle when you and Sergeant Hubbard arrived?"

Fusco: "No."

Keahon: "Did he walk rapidly?"

Fusco: "No, not particularly."

Keahon: "Did he seem excited when he said it?"

Fusco: "No."

Sergeant Fusco was straightforward on the stand, and never turned a hair as he fully dispelled the much circulated fiction that the "We got her!" utterance was proof that Mrs. Kabot was "set-up" as part of an inter-agency plot to thwart the Southampton Town Super­visor's re-election bid.

Also effective in his testimony was Detective Ed Hamor who undercut the defense's attempt to make capital of the existence of conflict­ing affidavits provided by then-Sergeant Trevor Gonce about whether he had communicated with anyone about Mrs. Kabot's DWI arrest on the night it occurred.

Yes, Hamor testified, Gonce had stated that the detectives had just awoken him, and that after signing an affidavit that he had spoken to no one during the time-frame in question, within "no more than five minutes" Gonce con­tacted Hamor and his partner Detec­tive Steven Cunneen and asked them to return to his home so that he could revise his statement.

Officer McManus had also been called to testi­fy, but after learning the line of questioning Attorney Keahon intended to pursue, Justice Smith refused the defense's request that the officer be placed on the witness stand.

The defense rested, and Justice Smith closed the hearing with his decision to be rendered in the future.

Impressions

Keahon never laid a glove on either Fusco or Hamor, and the responses to his questions went a long way toward parting the smoke­screen the defense has worked so strenuously to erect around the Kabot DWI arrest.

For their parts, both Fusco and Hamor had ample and subtle opportunities to throw McManus, Gonce and Police Chief Ray Dean to the dogs, but didn't despite rumors of intra-department animus between various factions and individuals within the department.

The two assistant District Attorneys for the prosecution, Joshua Shapiro and Anthony Baron, both look like babies along side of Keahon, but both had prepared well.

(Shapiro and Smith frequently engaged in grave colloquy over points of law, and the young ADA did not back down before the Justice. It helped that Smith was in seeming good humor throughout.)

This lengthy hearing is a critical one on many counts.

If the video recording of Mrs. Kabot's interdic­tion and arrest is admitted at trial, her chances of acquittal are slim.

If that video is deemed to be inadmissible, her chances rise appreciably, as it then becomes Linda v. Officers Ryan Lucas and McManus, and Keahon will likely try to paint a dark cloud above the latter's head regarding the matter of the missing handgun.

Elsewhere, Village Police Officers Michael Bruetsch and Joseph Pesapane are on suspen­sion without pay and rooting for Linda Kabot's acquittal to put some stink on McManus for when their disciplinary charges are heard.

It is why attorney Keahon, who in addition to Mrs. Kabot also represents Bruetsch and Pesa­pane, has left no stone uncast in the pre-trial hearing.

Sure, Bill... you keep trying to sell that!

From Newsday's updated story of today:

"...Keahon said the phrases, 'We got her,' and 'Look who we've got,' are essentially the same. 'I'm not sure there is really a difference.'"

Right!

Newsday finally removed the material mis­representation contained in the earlier version.

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