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He’s completely innocent, but if he can get a plea deal, that would be fine, too.
So goes the legal dilemma facing Flatbush State Senator Kevin Parker, who was arraigned in criminal court on July 28 on charges that he chased down and struck a New York Post photographer in a fit of unbridled rage.
While Parker repeatedly professes his innocence, his attorneys and the Kings County District Attorney’s office are apparently close to hashing out a plea deal.
Yet any deal made won’t be finalized until it gets the blessing of William Lopez, the Post shutterbug Parker allegedly accosted.
“There have been discussions [about a plea],” Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes confirmed in a recent interview. “We’ve talked about Parker making a formal written apology and even taking anger management classes, but we would never finalize a plea until the victim signs off on it.”
Lopez apparently did not agree to the deal after he was informed that Parker wouldn’t receive any jail time.
“It sounds like a slap on the wrist, and that slap on the wrist is a slap in the face to me,” the photographer told the Post.
Lopez had been assigned to take a photo of Parker outside his Avenue H home that was facing foreclosure, when the veteran legislator chased the shutterbug down the street.
Parker reportedly pursued Lopez around the corner to the photographer’s car where Parker broke the lensman’s flash. He also kicked out the interior door panel to Lopez’s 1998 Subaru Forester, according to a complaint filed with the Kings County District Attorney’s office.
Lopez reportedly suffered a swollen middle finger during the clash.
Parker was initially charged with criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanor assault and harassment. A grand jury later increased the charges to assault in the second degree.
If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison, said prosecutors.
Parker was arraigned on the indictment last week, but was allowed to remain free on bail. Prosecutors did ask that an order of protection for Lopez be continued.
Through the entire proceeding, Parker appeared calm and confident.
“I still maintain my innocence and expect to be fully exonerated,” Parker told reporters Tuesday, standing calmly in a bright white suit and red tie.
This is not the first time Parker’s been in trouble with the law.
In 2005, he was arrested for punching a traffic enforcement agent, but the charges were ultimately dropped when Parker agreed to undergo anger management counseling.
He was also accused of roughing up a female aide last year, but no formal charges were ever filed.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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