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Friday, November 04, 2005

Khalsa Assault-Hate Crime Trial: Defendant Files Countersuit

Victor Cosentino, one of the five men charged with assaulting Rajinder Singh Khalsa [pictured], has filed a countersuit against Khalsa and four others [see yesterday's coverage here]. The attorney for Cosentino claims that his client "feels he was falsely arrested on false charges and this has destroyed his life."

More specifically, he feels that "the charges alleging that he helped assault a Sikh... are borne out of racial prejudice against him." The attorney for Cosentino elaborates: "The charges against Mr. Cosentino were motivated solely by Mr. Bammi's prejudice against Italians ... was nothing more than pointing out every single Italian male person that was present." [Rajinder Singh Khalsa also goes by the last name of Bammi.] The attorney further notes that his client did not assault any of the Sikhs, but instead attempted to "squash the incident."

At trial, Gurcharan Singh, Khalsa's cousin, testified that was writting down Cosentino's license plate number after the incident and while the police were on their way. Singh testified that Costentino said, "If the cops come to my house, I'll come back and kill you." On cross-examination, Cosentino's attorney said that, according to Singh's grand jury testimony, Costentino only threatened that he would come back and kick Singh in the rear end. Cosentino's attorney then added, derisively, "Do you know what the word 'embellishment' means?" According to Newsday, "Singh insisted he was not doing so."

Another article on the trial reveals that one of the other defendants, Salvatore Maceli, "admitted to punching Khalsa in the face" and claims "that he was acting in self-defense." Apparently, to defend one's self, one has to beat the other individual, who is 55, into a state of unconsciousness.

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