A current and a former Nassau County corrections officer have been arrested on perjury charges for allegedly lying about a fight between one of the officers and a jail inmate two years ago.
John Andujar and Joseph Donlon pleaded not guilty Monday to perjury, making an apparently sworn false statement, making a punishable false written statement, official misconduct and conspiracy.
“We intend to fight the charges vigorously,” said Michael Annibale, the Garden City-based attorney for Andujar, 55, who has since retired and moved to Florida.
Prosecutors said Andujar and Donlon swore in documents and testified under oath before a grand jury that a former inmate, David Page, spontaneously assaulted Andujar on Oct. 21, 2011. But, investigators found that an argument between Page and Andujar prompted Andujar to remove Page’s handcuffs and shackles before the two engaged in a mutual fight, authorities said.
“We expect to hold law enforcement officers to the highest standards of honesty and discipline,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. “When that trust is broken, it unfairly taints the vast majority of law enforcement who serve honorably and we must act to correct it.”
Nassau County Sherriff Michael Sposato, whose spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment, referred the case to prosecutors following an internal affairs investigation uncovered witnesses countering the officers’ version of events.
The assault charges against Paige, who was jailed on an unrelated case, were later dropped.
“He adamantly denies the allegations,” said Marc Gann, the Mineola based attorney for Donlon. Gann called the charges “shocking, especially when they are based on a two-year-old incident in which a violent felon went after at least one of these officers.”
Donlon, 48, of Ronkonkoma, is still employed by the department.
He and Andujar face up to seven years in prison, if convicted. They are due back in court Jan. 13.
Their arrest comes after a Nassau corrections officer was convicted last year of sex crimes against female inmates, another Nassau corrections officer was arrested last year of trying to meet a 12-year-old upstate New York girl for a sexual encounter and a third Nassau corrections officer admitted two years ago to killing two people and kidnapping her niece.