Hate-crime charges dropped in Darien cab incident
A judge threw out charges against a Morgan Stanley executive accused of assault and committing hate crimes during a fare dispute with a cab driver who drove him from New York City to his Darien home.
Judge Kenneth Povodator dismissed the charges against William Jennings, 47, Monday in response to a request by Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Steven Weiss. Jennings had been placed on administrative leave from his job as co-head of fixed income and capital markets for Morgan Stanley in Manhattan.
Jennings was charged in late February with second-degree intimidation based on race or bigotry, second-degree assault and theft of services relating to the Dec. 22 dispute with the New York City taxi driver. He was released after posting a $9,500 court appearance bond and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Before asking that the criminal case be dropped, Weiss said he recently found out that the cabbie, Mohamed Anmar, withheld evidence from police.
Weiss said police were unable to find the pen knife Jennings allegedly used to cut Anmar's hand, but added that Anmar has had it since the incident. Weiss said the case would be better resolved in civil court.
Jennings, 47, said the outcome of the case spoke for itself. He gave thanks to friends and family for their support.
Gene Riccio, Jennings' attorney, filed a motion in May asking that the charges be dropped for several reasons, including inconsistant statements by the cabbie.
Riccio said police reports revealed the driver did not mention the alleged hate crime during his hour-long interview with police immediately after the incident.
"The most glaring example is the lack of any complaint relating to bias or bigotry on the night of the incident. And according to (the cab driver) there were two different locations where this alleged stabbing supposedly took place," Riccio said after filing the motion to dismiss in May.
According to Jennings' arrest warrant, driver Mohamed Anmar, of Astoria, N.Y., picked him up in New York City and drove to Jenning's Knollwood Lane home late Dec. 21. Jennings declined to pay a $204 cab fare, offering the driver $50, according to police.
The driver said he tried to call police, but could not get cellphone service and headed downtown to find an officer.
According to the driver, Jennings said he was going to call police. The cabbie told police he ran a red light and saw Jennings try to get out of the cab several times.
He told police Jennings got out at the cab near Darien Sport Shop on the Post Road and ran. The cabbie circled back to the railroad station and contacted police, according to the warrant.
Riccio also noted that the cab driver originally reported the stabbing took place near Jennings' driveway. A week later the cab driver said the stabbing occurred at least a mile away from Jennings' home.
He also first told police Jennings got out of the cab at Squab Lane but changed the story a week later to say he got out by Darien Sport Shop, Riccio said.
Jennings contended the cab driver threatened to take him back to New York City if he did not pay $300, but the cabbie said he was only trying to charge him $204.
Jennings exited the cab 140 yards from the turn that would take the cab to Interstate 95, Riccio said, adding that his client was afraid he was trying to take him back to New York City against his will.