A jury began deliberating felony assault charges against state Sen. Kevin Parker as the four-term lawmaker’s trial for attacking a New York Post photographer concluded on Monday.
Everything is on the line for Parker, who will lose his Senate seat — plus face up to seven years in the pokey — if convicted of the more serious felony counts stemming from his alleged attack on photographer William Lopez outside his East Flatbush home.
Parker did not testify at the trial, which began last Wednesday with a prosecutor calling him a felon, though Parker’s lawyer, Lonnie Hart, had long promised the under-oath explanation.
Court watchers said that Parker rested his case without taking the stand likely so he could avoid being asked about a litany of prior bad acts he has committed, including slugging a traffic enforcement officer in 2005 and wigging out at a recent Senate hearing, where he called Republicans “white supremacists.”
Hart told the jury that the embattled legislator didn’t have to testify: The case, he said, was completely orchestrated by the New York Post, and is ridiculous on its face.
“[The prosecution] has Sen. Kevin Parker literally fighting for his life and political career upon the so-called facts in this so-called case,” Hart told the jury in summation. “But there is no evidence to implicate Sen. Parker with any crime. I want you to tell the New York Post that you won’t stand for newspapers creating the news as opposed to reporting it and tell everybody in New York State by your verdict that a politician can and will get a fair trial.”
In turn, Assistant District Attorney Kathleen DiGiovanni found Hart’s closing ridiculous.
“[Hart] wants everyone to think that there is this grand conspiracy between the victim, the police and the entire criminal justice system to wrongfully convict his client and that the New York Post has control over who gets arrested,” DiGiovanni said. “But the only one making this political is the defendant.”
The photos that Lopez took on the day of the alleged attack were expected to accompany a story about how Parker’s home was facing foreclosure.
Prosecutors charge that Parker chased Lopez then tried to take the man’s camera, sparking a tug of war inside Lopez’s car that left the photographer with a fractured finger. The camera and Lopez’s car were damaged in the scuffle, prosecutors say.
Neither Parker nor Hart would talk to reporters on Monday evening.
The jury is expected to resume deliberations today.