Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attorney for suspect in New Square firebomb case asks judge to dismiss criminal contempt charge 

An attorney for an 18-year-old accused of attempted murder and arson asked the village justice Monday to dismiss a misdemeanor charge accusing the teen of walking past his alleged victim's home in violation of an order of protection.

Shaul Spitzer, who is facing felony counts of attempted murder, arson and assault for his suspected role in a May 22 attack on fellow New Square resident Aron Rottenberg, was additionally charged with second-degree criminal contempt on Oct. 26 after a photograph taken by a village resident surfaced, alleged to show Spitzer in front of Rottenberg's Truman Avenue home about 3:15 p.m. Oct. 4.

On Monday, Kenneth Gribetz, Spitzer's defense attorney, asked New Square Village Justice Stuart Salles to dismiss the contempt charge on the grounds that the order of protection does not require Spitzer to maintain a specific distance from Rottenberg's residence.

Salles reserved his decision to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, noting that he would decide on the matter within 30 days.

In papers filed in New Square Village Court, Gribetz contends his client was merely walking past Rottenberg's house with three others and was not engaging in any behavior that would have put him in violation of the protection order.

"He did not violate that order of protection in any way, shape or form," Gribetz told Salles while attempting to make his point Monday evening.

Also Monday, the prosecution presented Salles with a superseding document that, along with the initial criminal contempt charge, includes a transcript of an earlier court appearance during which the order of protection was originally issued.

The prosecution told Salles that while discussing the scope of the protection order, Spitzer had been verbally instructed not to walk by the Rottenberg home and provided with alternative routes enabling him access to the Hasidic Jewish community's only synagogue, which lies near Truman Avenue.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe was not in the court Monday, but called the motion to dismiss the contempt charge routine. Zugibe said he believes the charge his office had brought against Spitzer in New Square will stand.


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