Mark Bonilla
Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla

Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla was described as a criminal manipulator of his staff and innocent target of a political smear campaign Wednesday in closing arguments of his misconduct and coercion trial.

Assistant District Attorney Jed Painter gave a PowerPoint presentation during his closing comprised of transcripts from previous days’ testimony, text messages between witnesses and Bonilla’s phone records.

“Loyalty is a word you heard from every witness,” Painter told the court while referring to past and current Bonilla employees that testified.

He argued that despite having “witnesses with conflicting objectives and conflicting backgrounds,” they all agreed that Bonilla allegedly sought compromising photos of former employee Ariel Davis, who filed a sexual harassment complaint against him, in an attempt to discredit her.

Bonilla’s defense attorney, Adrian DiLuzio, argued in his closing that there has been a “discrepancy in the testimonies” of the witnesses.

He said that Alex Desidoro, Davis’ ex-boyfriend and fellow former employee that Bonilla allegedly requested the photos of Davis from, “expressed discomfort, but not an unwillingness” in sharing them and that the photos were first offered to Bonilla to make him aware of their existence.

DiLuzio also continued to question the credibility of Davis’ complaint.

“They were after something on Mark Bonilla, and they found it, and they ran with it,” he said. “It’s a disgrace that this case is in the courtroom.”

In his closing, Painter said that the evidence makes clear that Desidoro did not offer Bonilla photos, but that they were requested of him.

“If Desidoro offered the photos, it would have been a five second conversation, not several days,” he said.

The closing arguments came after Bonilla’s secretary, Tara Kavanagh, testified that Bonilla did not act inappropriately towards women and did not threaten his employees.

She said that Bonilla is a “touchy person,” but that he “does that to everybody.”

Judge Sharon Gianelli expected to issue her verdict July 25 at First District Court in Hempstead. Bonilla faces up to a year in jail, if convicted.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.