Update 2:21 p.m.:
Hassan Ahmad, the lawyer for taxi driver Mohamed Ammar, who accused William Bryan Jennings of assaulting him in a cab fare dispute last December, has released a statement on the dropping of criminal charges against Jennings.
The statement (attached to this article) reads, in part:
"On Oct. 5, 2012, Mr. Ammar met with the Connecticut State Prosecutor and was informed that the state is no longer willing to press charges against the defendant.
"Mr. Ammar is outraged by the prosecutor's decision and continues to demand justice. 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.
ANR [Ahmad Naqvi Rodriguez, LLP, Hassan Ahmad's law firm] is similarly shocked by the prosecutor's decision. Not only do we feel that it represents a
miscarriage ofjustice for our client, but the timing of this decision makes it that much more disappointing and alarming.
"ANR has been in constant communication with the Prosecutor's office since the arrest of the defendant and was never given any indication that the Prosecutor was even considering dismissing these charges.
"In fact, a week prior to the Oct. 5, meeting, the prosecutor contacted this office, informing us that the trial would be going forward on Oct. 15, 2012 and that Mr. Ammar would be testifying."
Ahmad is in court today and could not be reached for comment, according to his office, which released the written statement.
Steven Weiss, the prosecutor in the case, could not be reached for comment this afternoon. Jennings' lawyer, Eugene Riccio, has declined to comment until Monday, when Jennings is due back in state Superior Court in Stamford.
Original article with update at 12:58 with quote from Jennings' lawyer in Paragraph 6:
Darien executive William Bryan Jennings won't be facing charges of assaulting a New York City cab driver in Darien, now that prosecutors have declined to present a case, according to a report in Friday's New York Post and Reuters.
Jennings has been charged not only with second-degree assault, but with sixth-degree larceny and intimidation by bias or bigotry.
Hassan Ahmad, the lawyer for taxi driver Mohamed Ammar, said prosecutors from state Superior Court in Stamford have told him they’re dropping the case against Jennings.
"Mr. Ammar is outraged by the prosecutor’s decision and continues to demand justice," Ahmad told the Post.
According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch website, Jennings is still due in Stamford court on Monday. The case is listed on the trial docket.
"I'm not going to have any comment," said Jennings' lawyer, Eugene Riccio on Friday afternoon. Riccio said he would wait to comment on Monday.
Jennings' arrest, which garnered news media attention in New York City and in the financial press, stemmed from a Dec. 21 incident in which he disputed the taxi fare after a late night ride from Manhattan to his home on Knollwood Lane. Jennings and the cab driver, Mohamed Ammar, gave police accounts of the incident that varied on many points. Both men told Darien police that they feared for their safety.
Jennings and his lawyer have said the taxi driver took Jennings in his taxi against Jennings' will during the Dec. 21 dispute over cab fare.
The charge of intimidation by bias or bigotry stemmed from an accusation that Jennings had told the cab driver he should go back to his own country. That charge caused tabloid headline writers and others to say Jennings was accused of a "hate crime."
The assault charge stemmed from cuts the cab driver received to his hands when either he grabbed a pen knife with a 2.5-inch blade Jennings was holding (by Jennings' account) or was slashed at by Jennings and attempted to defend himself (by the cab driver's account).
The larceny charge stemmed from the cab fare dispute from Manhattan to Darien. The cabbie said Jennings wouldn't pay the standard fare, $204. Jennings said the cabbie demanded $300. The taxi driver then started driving from Jennings' driveway into downtown Darien.
The taxi driver said he was looking for police after he couldn't reach them by cell phone. Jennings said the cab driver told him he was driving him back to New York City and wouldn't stop.
Eventually the cab driver did stop, on the Post Road near Darien Sport Shop, where (by both accounts) he and Jennings had some kind of physical tussle involving Jennings' pen knife. Jennings then left the taxi. Darien police did not charge the cab driver with holding Jennings against his will.
Ammar of Astoria, Queens, received stitches on his hands after struggling with Jennings.
Morgan Stanley reportedly suspended Jennings from his job as one of two heads of its North American fixed-income capital markets division.
See also Darien Patch's past coverage of the case:
- Darien Exec Charged with Assaulting Cabbie (March 3)
- Jennings Pleads Not Guilty (March 9)
- Jennings Case: No Charges for Cabbie (March 10)
- Jennings' Lawyer: Police Made False Statements (March 30)