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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Prosecutor-Lawyer Takes Swing At Cop During Traffic Stop

Brooklyn Asst. DA in highway stop and ‘pop’ 
The New York Post by Ikimulisa Livingston, Christina Carrega and Jose Martinez  -  June 5, 2012

He objected to getting pulled over, so a Brooklyn prosecutor literally fought the law — taking a swing at a Queens cop, officials said yesterday. In the latest in a series of black eyes for the office of District Attorney Charles Hynes, assistant DA Yaser Othman was arrested early Saturday night after he took a wild swing at Sgt. Benjamin Benson when the cop stopped him for swerving through traffic on the Whitestone Expressway, officials said. The 41-year-old prosecutor, who was hired by the Brooklyn DA in 2010, was suspended without pay after his arrest, during which officers allegedly also found a joint in a cigarette pack in his car. He was charged with marijuana possession, resisting arrest, reckless driving and attempted assault. A team of Queens Narcotics cops in an unmarked van reported seeing Othman swerve his white 2002 Mitsubishi Galant in and out of traffic without using turn signals, police said. Othman allegedly cut the van off and was finally pulled over near Astoria and Ditmars boulevards around 6:20 p.m. He refused to get out and had to be removed from his car by Sgt. Benson, Queens prosecutors said. That’s when he swung at Benson with a right haymaker that missed while trying to avoid being handcuffed, prosecutors allege. Police said they recovered the joint during a search of the car. A source in the Brooklyn DA’s Office said Othman hadn’t been in any trouble in his two years on the job, adding, “He hasn’t been around long enough to have developed any type of reputation.” Near his Queens home yesterday, Othman, a father of two, insisted he’ll be cleared. “I am innocent of what they say that I did. The truth is going to come out,” he said. Othman, who is assigned to a unit that prosecutes low-level offenders in neighborhoods such as Canarsie and East New York, denied the joint was his, saying: “I don’t know anything about a marijuana cigarette. I can’t say if they planted it.” Othman appealed to witnesses who may have encountered his run-in with the law. He was freed without bail after being arraigned on Sunday. His arrest comes on the heels of increased pressure on his boss over Hynes’ handling of sexual predators in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. It also follows the abrupt resignation last month of a top sex-crimes prosecutor who allegedly failed to disclose that an Orthodox woman had recanted her claims of being beaten, raped and pimped out by four men. Othman’s allegedly wild ride is another embarrassment for Brooklyn prosecutors, who in 2010 had a murder conviction tossed for not disclosing crucial information to the defense in the case of a man who spent 16 years in prison.

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