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D’Amelio attorney says arrest expunged; threatens lawsuit

Republican District 25 State Senate candidate Marc D’Amelio, in a promotional video.

The election is Nov. 6.

NORWALK, Conn. – Republican State Senate candidate Marc D’Amelio says a 2014 arrest has been removed from his legal record and is only surfacing now because of political opponents.

D’Amelio, who is seeking to unseat State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), contends publication of his arrest is injurious to his reputation, and his attorney has threatened to sue NancyOnNorwalk if it reports the incident.

NancyOnNorwalk has obtained a copy of the police report, which alleges that D’Amelio drove under the influence with his 9-year-old daughter in the front seat and states that he was charged with risk of injury to a minor and driving under the influence.  NoN also has obtained a transcript for a court hearing in which D’Amelio was granted Accelerated Rehabilitation, a diversionary program for first-time offenders which can lead to expungement of charges.

 

The arrest

Officer Garret Kruger wrote in the Jan. 11, 2014 report that he and another officer observed a black BMW parked on the corner of Raymond and South Main Streets; the vehicle made a U-turn on South Main Street and headed south, crossing into the northbound lane five times and once almost striking the opposite curb.

The officers stopped the BMW at about 2:30 a.m., and D’Amelio “jumped out” and walked toward their patrol car, according to the report. He was told to get back in the car, and officers observed his 9-year-old daughter in the front seat, and three men in the back.

Driving under the influence with a child in the car is considered Risk of Injury to a Minor, according to multiple sources.

D’Amelio said he was in South Norwalk passing out money he had won at the Mohegan Sun Casino to “teach his daughter a lesson about giving to the unfortunate,” Kruger wrote.  D’Amelio also said the three passengers were strangers he had met at a corner store and offered a ride home.

D’Amelio agreed to take Standardized Field Sobriety tests.  He told officers that he had Parkinson’s Disease, which would inhibit some of his physical movements, according to the report.  D’Amelio could not perform many of the requirements of the test and at 3:23 a.m. blew a .1178 on his first breath test.  A second test at 3:44 a.m. showed .1165, Kruger wrote.

Connecticut State Statute specifies that adults are driving under the influence of alcohol if blood alcohol level is .08 or higher.

Kruger’s 2014 report states that a report of child abuse and neglect was filed with the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

One of the three men in the back seat was on parole and had been “arrested numerous times for narcotics and was arrested on August 25, 2005 for a shooting,” Kruger wrote.

The state judicial website shows that two of the three men in the backseat have been convicted for multiple offenses.

One of the men has nine convictions on charges that include assault third degree and possession of narcotics, and a December 2013 burglary charge.  The other has six convictions, including charges of selling narcotics and larceny.

 

 

D’Amelio responds

NancyOnNorwalk called D’Amelio for comment on Sept. 6.

“I have to talk about my lawyer about that,” D’Amelio said, when told NancyOnNorwalk had a report and intended to write a story.

“I have never been convicted of a crime, and you know what’s going on right now,” he said. “I do not have a police record, and have not been convicted of a crime. This is what you know it is. It’s ‘the Senate Majority Leader knows he’s vulnerable,’ and it is what it is. I’ll stand by what I said. I do not have a police record. They want to dig things up.”

Duff did not respond to an email asking about D’Amelio’s allegation.

 

 

D’Amelio’s lawyer responds

Attorney Mark Sherman contacted NoN on Sept. 7 and said the arrest and charges were dismissed, erased and expunged in March 2016.  He argued that publication therefore constituted libel.  By law, publication of true statements is not libel.

On Sept. 25, NoN emailed D’Amelio and Sherman, advised that NoN planned to post a story Monday, and asked if D’Amelio and/or Sherman wanted to comment verbally or send a statement.

On Sept. 27, Sherman sent this email:

“On behalf of Marc D’Amelio, I’m providing the following response—w/ the hyper-link:

Mark Sherman, D’Amelio’s Stamford criminal lawyer, confirmed that all charges against Mr. D’Amelio were dismissed and expunged by the Norwalk Superior Court.  ‘The fact that police reports regarding a dismissed case were recently distributed to the media by the Norwalk Police Department is not only illegal but will be the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation, which we’ve asked the Connecticut State Police to handle.’”

 

Expungement “is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is ‘sealed,’ or erased in the eyes of the law,” according to criminal.findlaw.com.

 

Source of the report

Before NancyOnNorwalk received any documents, two readers contacted NoN and said the public should know of D’Amelio’s arrest.

Shortly thereafter, NoN received by mail an envelope with a copy of the arrest report.  The envelope, which had no return address, also contained a Jan. 12, 2014, news article from the Hour about the arrest, which tells the same story as the arrest report.

NoN also contacted the Norwalk Police Department and arranged to pick up a copy of the arrest report.  The copy provided by Norwalk Police was heavily redacted, with nearly all mentions of driving under the influence blacked out.  On Sept. 10, Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik advised that the report was released in error, and asked that it be returned.  NoN declined.

The reporting in this story is based entirely on the report which arrived by mail, which has far fewer redactions than the report provided by Norwalk Police.

Kulhawik on Sunday said he had not heard from the Connecticut State Police and had not requested their assistance.

 

 

The court transcript

D’Amelio’s wife, Heidi, was present in the court when D’Amelio was granted Accelerated Rehabilitation, the transcript obtained by NoN shows. DCF was not.

Heidi D’Amelio had no objection to the AR, the transcript states.

The aggravating circumstances were the presence of the 9-year-old in the car, Attorney Donna Krusinski is quoted as saying, and Wenzel replied that D’Amelio was looking at a C-class felony with the possibility of a 10-year sentence.

“If I may remind the Court, he pled to a reckless. Your Honor vacated it,” Sherman is quoted as saying. “He did do a year probation on the reckless before. Your Honor vacated it based on changes in the law, which we’re very grateful to.”

“It’s a difficult set of circumstances,” Wenzel is quoted as saying. “Obviously you’ve got to make your top priority the safety and welfare of your children and you need to make better decisions.”

“Biggest mistake of my life, sir,” D’Amelio replied.

“Well I’m hoping that’s the case and I’m hoping that from this point on you can use it as a way to learn,” Wenzel replied. “Everyone got lucky that time, okay?… let’s go with a nine-month period of AR on this new matter. That will bring us to March 25, 2016.”

D’Amelio court transcript 15-0626

 

D’Amelio slams Dems

On Sept. 29, a story appeared in The Hour detailing the arrest.  The story quoted D’Amelio accusing Democrats of conspiring to provide NoN with a police report to damage him, and said that Republicans believed that Common Council member Doug Stern (D-At Large) had provided the court transcript.

NancyOnNorwalk did not receive the transcript from Stern, a Democrat who is running for Judge of Probate.

The transcript, first provided to NoN on Sept. 17, is available to the public by request.  NoN contributor Harold Cobin went to the Norwalk courthouse on Oct. 2 and asked for records concerning D’Amelio.  Cobin provided the clerk with D’Amelio’s name, birth date and address.  The clerk said nothing came up in the computer because it was too old, and when he told her he wanted a transcript she sent him to the court reporter’s office, Cobin said.

“I showed her D’Amelio’s name on my notepad and she asked me who I was,” Cobin wrote in an email. “I said I was a reporter and she asked me to wait outside while she made a phone call. Then she called me back in and had me fill out a form to request a transcript.”

The transcript obtained by Cobin is identical to the one provided to NancyOnNorwalk on Sept. 17.

 

 

An open secret

Rumors of D’Amelio’s arrest were rampant in Fall 2017 when D’Amelio was running for the Board of Education.  NancyOnNorwalk received word of a “whisper campaign” about it.

At the time, NancyOnNorwalk found one news story online about the arrest.  The story no longer appears in search results.

D’Amelio’s race for Board of Education was unsuccessful; he placed fifth in the race for four seats amid a Democratic landslide.

D’Amelio announced in January that he would take on Duff, then quickly withdrew, then in April resumed the campaign.

Republican Town Committee Chair Mark Suda, who is also a Norwalk Police Officer, declined a request for comment.

NancyOnNorwalk has received reports of Facebook users mentioning the incident, and D’Amelio replying that the comments were libelous.  “Whoa there. Let me get this straight. You have lawyers going after people on this page, a Facebook page for the Norwalk Community, for things they said against you?” a commenter wrote to D’Amelio.

 

40 comments

V October 9, 2018 at 11:57 am

Now does this mean, surmised from some of the comments, that if you support this candidate you support dui’s?

Matt October 9, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Congrats Nancy {…} the worst day of someone’s life almost 5 years later. I hope and pray that that you or anyone that a hand in making this closed case public WILL NEVER have to experience your worst day again. I am sorry we live in this gotcha world.

I also believe in Norwalk and our voters. I trust they will vote on the true issues we face and not use these Assange tactics as criteria in their decision making in November.

In my perfect world, I would love for Bob to denounce these tactics, as I truly do not believe he had a hand in this… Nancy, use your platform to create debate between these two candidates…. Finally Marc, the wisdom to explain to your daughters and followers that your worst day is not a stain on your character but a building block of it.

Edited to remove an instance of ascribing motives without proof, a violation of the comments policy. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

Tony P October 9, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Dude is a one trick pony – only thing his platform consists of is Not Duff. I also know that if I made the same ‘mistake’ he did, I would have lost my public sector job, and he would have been leading the charge. Amazing the double standard. Maybe my party can put up candidates of substance next election?

Patricia October 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm

DUIs are public record. And, whenever a child is in the car — that is always reported in the news of the arrest.
This is not a good resume item for a State Official.

Jeffery October 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Do you really think you can run for public office and something like this not come up?

It obvious from his response that he has tried to conceal this info from voters.

I’d have a lot more respect for a man that owns up to a situation like this as opposed to blaming others and playing victim.

His campaign should have known that this would come out and be well prepared to acknowledge it and move on.

Marc is a good guy but there is zero substance to his campaign and zero experience that would lead me to believe he is capable of anything in Hartford.

alan October 9, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Not Duff is OK by me and I am not affected, except that he is part of the problem in Hartford.
D’Amelio should chill though.
Everyone has a skeleton in the closet…even Mr. Duff?
Wasting money on the low-like Sherman is a waste of time.
Suck it up. Run your campaign. Admit to human frailties, and if the people are sick enough of Duff, you will win. If the voters want the same-old,same-old…well, Duff’s nonsense will catch up to him eventually.
Meanwhile, NoN is a great blog. Leave it alone and go campaign.

alan October 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm

“This is not a good resume item for a State Official.”
What?!!!
Minor, compared to what passes for normal in Hartford! How do you think this state go into the shape that it is in?!!
If you like his message, give him a shot and hope for the best.
While I have no skin in the Norwalk game,change can be your best friend.

Ioannis October 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Mark put himself in this position! if you are dirty it will come out, its better for the People of Norwalk To Know who they are Putting in Office these days!! leave Duff alone

Ian L October 9, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Any information I’ve obtained on Duffs campaign irregularities is going to be given to a proper media outlet who can appropriately and, without obvious bias, report on it in a responsible manner.

Tysen Canevari October 9, 2018 at 6:57 pm

I know both Marc D’Amelio and Bob Duff. I don’t believe for a minute Bob would take part in this. Marc made a mistake and learned from it. He paid his debt to society and is entitled to his privacy via accelerated rehabilitation that was granted by the judge. It is supposed to be a one time mulligan for non violent offenses. The record was designated sealed by a court of law after a year of probation. What is most alarming here is that the Norwalk police department released this sealed record. {…} Why is no one crying foul for their actions?? Is this behavior ok just because you are a candidate? Why don’t all of you people that judge others on here sign your name? Hide behind the keyboard as usual. Knowing Marc i am sure he is remorseful for his actions but doesnt deserve a public lynching.

Comment edited to remove unsubstantiated allegations which are potentially libelous, a violation of the comment policy. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php

Carmela Reyes October 9, 2018 at 10:33 pm

So Marc who is actually not scared to fight for change will be torn apart but Trump is our president and Frank is running our BOE while being sued for sexual harassment. I’m sorry but we as a student group are outraged at this. Marc will without a doubt fight for us. Are we paying for Frank like we did Mike Lyons and is that why so many programs were taken from us kids?

Nancy Chapman October 10, 2018 at 5:07 am

Carmela, the lawsuit you mention was filed against the New Haven Board of Education. The Norwalk Board of Education is not a defendant, and Norwalk is not paying money in the case.

Scarlet ohara October 10, 2018 at 7:02 am

If Norwalk police released or leaked this information doesn’t surprise me one bit. They are a bunch of irrelevant, untrustworthy and crooked bunch ever known to this city and look who’s running the city… oh, that’s right… NOT rilling but the puppet master behind the curtain, king.

If this case was sealed and nance published…

Lisa Brinton Thomson October 10, 2018 at 7:40 am

Two pretty famous quotes come to mind with this unfortunate story.

“He who is without sin, cast the first stone…”

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

Ernie DesRochers October 10, 2018 at 7:54 am

Nothing is sacred anymore if it gets in the way of politics. Mark made a mistake, did what he was supposed to do in the eyes of the law, and has lived an exemplary life since the unfortunate incident happened. He has been a successful businessman providing good jobs for folks who needed them to be productive members of society. We should be celebrating that instead of tearing the man down. How many of us can say that? The Senator certainly can’t.

The sad thing about this piece is it comes across as a hit job masquerading as news. I find it hard to believe that sealed court records were released by mistake. My faith in government has been shaken because for many it’s about keeping power rather than doing the right thing.

Speaking of which I lived here for 27 years and I cannot think of any major legislative achievement that the current senator has achieved since he was first elected to office. My taxes are sky high because we do not get our fair share of state education funding and the senator has done nothing to change that as far as I can tell. Candidly ice cream socials and pasta dinners don’t do much. And the few crumbs he does hand out to local groups and the no school announcements does little to move the needle locally except to make people feel good,which is most important in this state because we all have gotten nailed by this crowd. Try shining the light on what the senator has actually achieved for Norwalk! “Fix that first!”

alan October 10, 2018 at 10:49 am

Duff has been a tool for the party going on in Hartford…using Fairfield County like a piggy bank and supporting the ever increasing insolvent state. We get a few crumbs tossed this way and Duff&Co. pound their chests and brag about the hard work they do for constituents.
Any change is good when it comes to state government and old DUI’s should not be part of the equation. Malloy has hired people with long rap sheets and nobody said a word,repeat offenders with no intention of changing their behavior but no able to get work outside of state government.
If D’Amelio is generally a good candidate, vote him in! You could do worse.

Ian L October 10, 2018 at 11:57 am

So I have to ask, is anyone attempting to hold either NPD or members of City Hall accountable for the crime of releasing a sealed legal document for media scrutiny? Nancy’s got plenty of contacts in both departments, so what steps are being taken to expose this obvious corruption?

cc-rider October 10, 2018 at 5:16 pm

No one should have to have a perfect record, but it seems a bit odd to be this evasive that the event ever happened at all and to threaten to sue NON about publishing them despite the fact that these things are in fact public record as evidenced by H Corbin’s record search. A little humility would go a long way.

Nancy Chapman October 10, 2018 at 7:19 pm

The arrest report I obtained from the Norwalk PD was heavily redacted, with nearly all details of the infraction blacked out. The report was so heavily redacted that it was not possible to understand what occurred.

As noted, this story is based on a copy of the arrest report received by mail in an envelope with no return address, and a copy of the court transcript provided to NoN. The court transcript is available by request at the Norwalk Courthouse, as demonstrated by Harold Cobin.

Isabelle Hargrove October 10, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Nancy,

Thank you for providing such a clear snapshot of the ethical dilemma you were faced with.

You fully understood that Marc D’Amelio’s records had been expunged under Connecticut’s Accelerated Rehabilitation program which provides eligible 1st-time offenders with a second chance at a clean record so they can rebuild their life, remain productive members of society and spare their family the permanent stain of their one mistake. Yet, you consciously decided to overrule the intent of the law and use information you should never have seen {…}, sparing no details. You might call it journalism, I would have a different label for it.

A terrible mistake one night does not define Marc’s character. {…}

Madam, you must not believe in Karma and neither must the people who are hiding behind an anonymous package. For starter, I hope Norwalkers vote to kick all the people they might have guessed are behind this despicable ploy to the curb. They don’t deserve to represent our town or sit on our judicial bench.

Edited to remove ascribing of motives without proof, a violation of the comment policy. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

Ernie DesRochers October 10, 2018 at 10:50 pm

Motives without proof? NoN,, have you ever run a piece that actually shines a light on the failures of the Senstor to achieve anything of substance for Norwalk? I mean a real accomplishment not ice cream socials, pasta dinners and the like. Something that really made a difference for Norwalk and Darien.

Rick October 11, 2018 at 8:59 am

As a Democrat I see this fight everyone is in a red herring created obviously by the Democrats its time to focus on Duff Perone Himes Murphy and Rilling.

I want to thank all four Democrats for ignoring OUR FIGHT on the federal Half way house on Quintard ave. They moved in yesterday.

Our notice was a dumpster delivered this morning at 6:30 AM. Its now blocking the sidewalk where children have to walk in the street with their mothers with strollers.

Our Mayor has turned his back on us , Duff Perone Himes and Murpy did nothing after two years of phone calls and contacting both offices of our DC heroes.

o you want a fight call customer service city hall complain about the sidewalk blocked by a dumpster its a start.Time to let the city know a residential street has been served a death warrant.

at 203 854 3200 we are calling for help its obvious the help we got from your city was not enough in some cases not at all.

I welcome the help please call customer service at city hall and complain about the dumpster in front of 17 Quintard ave. sticking out into the street.

Our police chief saw no problems with a half way house with two a large drug busts on the street within a week .

While everyone is complaining about the system why not praise Marc for what he has done already. It was Nancy on Norwalk who showed footage of the parade that very hot day at the arts festival that showed Marc passing out water to the those in the parade of all parties there he showed he supports all a very fine candidate Marc D’Amelio I would say.

Time to change gears people you all sound like a bunch of sport parents on a bad call on the field. Its time to take back the city and state with reps that work for us.

Sid Welker October 11, 2018 at 10:09 am

Welcome to 2018. Where anything you did in 1980 and beyond will be held against you until death. Thank the sweet lord I’m a 1950’s generation kind of guy. Its new millennial politics people! No holds barred! Next stop is a gladiator arena. Fight to the death live on pay T.V. Now don’t mind me while I watch and read all of you turn on each other and read Nancy the riot act for doing what she’s been doing for the last couple of years.

Rick October 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

quick update the dumpster has been removed from the street a dozen calls this morning to the city says we got help

thank you all

lets show some team spirit enough of the crap its time to get to work ,not for this site most would be lost walking behind Duff.

John Flynn October 13, 2018 at 8:36 am

Mark? What never happened in the first place shouldn’t be discussed multiple times. Like “Voldemort” the name of the guy that should never be spoken. {…} Releasing documents? Those Police reports are redacted numerous times. What should be discussed is the fact that Police spend so much time driving to 6 Quintard for a non-profit, and will now be responding to 17 Quintard for a non-profit, getting overtime and a pension, instead of stopping the multiple drug dealers inj Norwalk. The public should read the Police blotter. Places like Roodner Court need a full time Police presents, we need Spanish speaking police. We need a legitimate Internal Affairs officer the Police Department. I have complained many times to Internal Affairs, they document nothing.
The problems with releasing a “false arrest” is rampant. it is liable, it is slander and it is business as usual. {…}

{…} Why do you think the Hour stopped allowing commentary? Because Valdemort said so. It is good against evil. Evil is on the run. Winguardium Leviosa.

Edited to remove numerous unsubstantiated allegations of criminal behavior. https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/comment-guidelines/

B Meek October 24, 2018 at 4:24 pm

@Tysen. I wish you were right about Duff. It’s extremely disappointing how things have turned out. I considered Bob a friend and I had high hopes for his work in Hartford when he began. But it has been one big disappointment after another. Besides him blowing it for Norwalk, a new low was reached when it became apparent this was a coordinated campaign strategy to distract from the fact that Bob’s poor decisions have cost this city 100s of millions and the state billions. That Bob won’t own up to it or at least fake outrage over the violation of Marc’s privacy while he’s tweeting his ass off about Kavanaugh is even more disturbing. And worse than all of that, thanks to second chance society laws that Bob does support we have an actual rapist living on West Rocks Road, who by report of the NY DOC is “extremely likely” to commit similar offenses. Other states have laws on the books that would not allow this guy to live on walk routes to school. Bob has nothing to say about this and it should sicken everyone. It’s time for a change.

Niz November 9, 2018 at 2:47 am

I am late responding as I just learned about this last night. Anonymously mailed (a report only law enforcement has access too) about a matter that was expunged…
I don’t respect this at all. Yet there are so many other unethical & criminal activity going on in the city departments & elected officials being boldly revealed by citizens & and no transparency by reporters or accountability to follow. SMH this reads like a gossip column.
As I appreciate NoN reporting over all, this is not in line with her character,

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