Hate crime charges to be dropped against Darien banker
Published 6:46 pm, Friday, October 12, 2012
"I'm aware that the charges are being dropped," Detective Chester Perkowski of the Darien police department said Friday in an interview. He declined to comment further.
Jennings was accused of attacking the driver, Mohamed Ammar, on Dec. 22 with a 2 1/2-inch blade after a 40-mile ride from New York to the banker's $3.4 million home in Darien. Ammar, a native of Egypt and a U.S. citizen, said Jennings told him, "I'm going to kill you. You should go back to your country," according to a police report.
Jennings faced assault and hate-crime charges, each of which brings a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He was also charged with not paying the fare, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty March 9.
Eugene Riccio, Jennings's attorney, wouldn't confirm that the case had been abandoned.
"All I'm saying is we're showing up," he said today in a phone interview. "We have a court date Monday, and we're going to be there."
Jennings no longer works at New York-based Morgan Stanley, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the information isn't public.
Pen Pendleton, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, the sixth- largest U.S. bank by assets, said in March that Jennings had been placed on leave. Pendleton didn't immediately return a call for comment today.
Riccio declined to comment on his client's employment. Jennings didn't immediately return a phone call to his home.
Steven Weiss, the supervisory state's attorney, didn't return a call seeking comment on the status of the case.
"Mr. Ammar is outraged by the prosecutor's decision and continues to demand justice," Ammar's attorney, Hassan Ahmad of Ahmad Navqi Rodriguez LLP in New York, said in a statement. "He was anxiously awaiting trial this month and had no indication that the prosecutor would take such a drastic turn nearly a year after this crime was committed and within days of the trial."
On March 28, Jennings filed a motion seeking to have the case dismissed, arguing that Ammar contradicted himself in statements to the police. The arrest warrant contained false statements and omissions that "seriously undermine" Ammar's credibility, according to the filing by Jennings. That motion was still pending and was to be the subject of an Oct. 15 hearing.
Jennings flagged Ammar down in front of Ink48, a hotel on Manhattan's West Side, sometime before 11 p.m. after the banker said his car service didn't appear, according to the police report. Jennings had been attending a company Christmas party.
Ammar told police that once they reached Jennings's home, he refused to pay the $204 fare they had agreed on. He said he drove away to find police and that during the ride the banker stabbed him in the hand. Jennings said that they never agreed on an amount and that Ammar had demanded $294, which he viewed as exorbitant.