Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Student Charged With Hate Crimes in Cab Stabbing - NYTimes.com
A film student arrested in the slashing of a Muslim taxi driver in Manhattan last week was indicted on Monday on charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault as hate crimes.
The student, Michael Enright, 21, was not in Manhattan Criminal Court during the brief hearing; James Zaleta, an assistant district attorney, informed his lawyer, Lawrence M. Fisher, that Mr. Enright had been indicted. The indictment is expected to be unsealed on Sept. 22.
During the hearing, Mr. Fisher said that notes belonging to the lawyer who represented Mr. Enright at his arraignment last week had been taken from a bench in the courtroom. Mr. Fisher said he had reason to believe that the notes, which contained privileged information from the lawyer’s conversation with Mr. Enright, were taken by a member of the news media.
A detective recovered the notes and turned them over to the district attorney’s office, Mr. Fisher said. He did not specify how or where the detective found them. Mr. Zaleta said that he did not see the notes and that they had been returned to the lawyer.
Outside court, Mr. Fisher would not elaborate on his statements.
Mr. Fisher also complained that members of the news media had tried to visit his client in jail.
Mr. Enright was sent to Bellevue Hospital Center after his initial arraignment last week. He had recently been embedded with a Marine unit in Afghanistan and was working on a documentary about it. He had also volunteered for a nonprofit group whose mission included fostering understanding among religions and cultures, veterans and civilians.
The taxi driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, 44, said Mr. Enright had first made small talk with him. After he told Mr. Enright that he was Muslim, Mr. Sharif said, Mr. Enright responded with an Arabic greeting, silence and then told him, “This is the checkpoint” and “I have to bring you down.”
Mr. Enright then slashed Mr. Sharif in the throat, face and arms, prosecutors said. Mr. Enright, who is being held without bail, would face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the attempted murder charge.
Politicians who use hate and fear influence people, especially the young to engage in this type of behavior.
John H. Armwood