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Final Testimony Heard in Hempstead Clerk Misconduct Case
An ex-employee of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla continued to testify Tuesday regarding a request from Bonilla to hand over compromising photos of the employee’s ex-girlfriend to discredit her sexual harassment complaint.
Alex Desidoro, the former Bonilla staffer, told the court on the seventh day of the clerk’s misconduct trial that Bonilla “requested photos more than once” with intent to “have something” on Desidoro’s ex-girlfriend and Bonilla’s accuser, Ariel Davis.
Assistant District Attorney Jed Painter asked Desidoro if he ever offered to Bonilla give photographs of Davis, also an ex-employee in the clerk’s office. Desidoro declined that he did, testifying he “wouldn’t give them up in the first place.”
Elissa Smith, another ex-employee of Bonilla’s who was transferred out of Bonilla’s office upon the sexual harassment claim filed by Davis, took the stand after Desidoro.
She testified that she “was very uncomfortable in the office” and told Desidoro that he “needs to get out of the office” in a conversation regarding Bonilla’s alleged request for photos of Davis last summer.
Smith also testified that Bonilla moved Davis out of his immediate office and into the department where she had previously worked as “punishment for coming in late.” She said that Davis’ transfer was a “downgrade” and that “every employee wanted to be in the executive office.”
Charles Ribando, chief investigator for the Nassau district attorney’s office, and Investigator William Walsh also testified Tuesday.
Ribando said that he sent Walsh and another investigator to arrest Bonilla outside of his home after interviewing Town of Hempstead employees and viewing video evidence of Bonilla touching Davis’ arm repeatedly.
Walsh testified that Bonilla told him that he is a “touchy individual,” but that he never inappropriately touched Davis.
Bonilla’s defense attorney, Adrian DiLuzio, referred to the case as a “legal conundrum” and said that it is “abundantly clear that nobody was investigating Davis to see if her complaint was credible.”
Painter said that the evidence has “exceeded the level of proof” necessary, adding that “no one witness has to produce an entire case.”
Judge Sharon Gianelli will hear closing arguments Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead before ruling on the case. Bonilla faces up to a year in jail, if convicted.