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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fat Nick goes to jail

Uli Seit for The New York Times
Nicholas Minucci showed no emotion when the verdict
was announced Friday in State Supreme Court in Queens.
His lawyer, Albert Gaudelli, is sitting at left.

Batsman Convicted of Howard Beach Hate Crimes

Published: June 10, 2006

A white man who uttered a racial epithet while using a baseball bat to attack a black man in Queens last summer was found guilty of hate crimes yesterday in a case that carried echoes of an infamous racial beating in the same neighborhood two decades earlier.

Glenn Moore, whose skull was fractured in the beating last year, expressed satisfaction with the verdict as he left court Friday.

After seven hours of deliberations over two days, on a 14-count indictment, a jury found Nicholas Minucci, 20, guilty of the racially motivated assault and robbery of Glenn Moore, 23, in Howard Beach, a predominantly white Queens neighborhood.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. As a hate crime, the first-degree robbery carries the same maximum sentence but a lower minimum one.

About 5 p.m. in an otherwise empty Queens County Courthouse, the ethnically diverse jury deciding Mr. Minucci's fate filed into the courtroom, none of its members looking toward Mr. Minucci.

Mr. Minucci also looked away and showed no emotions as the verdict was read, a marked difference from the lively and sometimes volatile behavior he has exhibited in court appearances since being arrested a year ago.

Mr. Minucci was found not guilty of a top charge — first-degree assault as a hate crime — but was convicted of first- and second-degree robbery as a hate crime. He used the bat to rob Mr. Moore of his Air Jordan sneakers, a pair of Prada shoes and a blue polo shirt on June 29, 2005. Mr. Moore was carrying them in a bag while walking with two black friends in Howard Beach at 3 a.m. that day.

As a court officer cuffed Mr. Minucci's hands behind his back, Mr. Minucci looked first at the prosecutors' table and then back at friends and relatives as he was led out.

Mr. Minucci was also convicted of several lesser charges, including second-degree assault as a hate crime, three counts of criminal possession of the stolen items and criminal possession of the bat. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 15.

Mr. Minucci was being charged with hate crimes because of prosecutors' allegation that he seized upon Mr. Moore because of his race. Mr. Minucci's use of a racial epithet was debated extensively during the tense three-week trial, where it was often referred to as the "n" word.

Mr. Minucci's lawyer, Albert Gaudelli, argued vociferously during the trial that Mr. Minucci meant the word not as a slur but as a benign form of address commonly used today among young people of various ethnicities.

The Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, differed with that explanation after the verdict, which he said sent a clear message that "the 'n' word has no place in our society and should be banished from our vocabulary."

Actually, he was undone when his defense allowed evidence of his attacking a Sikh after 9/11 was entered into evidence.

Fat Nick had a LOT of nice things and no real job to pay for them.

posted by Steve @ 1:21:00 AM

1:21:00 AM

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