Friday, October 12, 2012

The presumption of innocence is crucial to us. It just seems like rich folks get more of it


by Ken

And it doesn't hurt if you're on the favored side of an ethnic divide either.

Let me say that I'm nervous about jumping into blogprint about this story, with so much unknown. There isn't, after all, anything at all in evidence, because you only get evidence in a trial, and it appears that Mr. Jennings isn't going to face one of those.

I assume that from the prosecutor's standpoint the case involves too much "he said"-"he said," and then when there's talk of contradictory and false statements, it's understandable that prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute a case they don't feel they can prove. At the same time, it's hard not to notice that one of the parties was a hot-shot banker with a $3.4 million house and the other was a cabbie who's an Egyptian immigrant. And there doesn't seem to be much contradiction that the drunken-bum banker who plunked himself into the cabbie's cab for a ride from the West Side of Manhattan to Darien, Connecticut, never did pay for the ride, or that the cabbie had his hand attacked.

This account by John Dillon was posted this afternoon on Bloomberg. (Links onsite.)
Ex-Morgan Stanley Executive’s Stabbing Charges Dropped

By John Dillon - Oct 12, 2012 2:08 PM ET

Charges against William Bryan Jennings, the former Morgan Stanley (MS) U.S. bond-underwriting chief accused of stabbing a New York cab driver over a fare, will be dropped, police said.

“I’m aware that the charges are being dropped,” Detective Chester Perkowski of the Darien, Connecticut, police department said today in an interview. He declined to comment further.

Jennings was accused of attacking the driver, Mohamed Ammar, on Dec. 22 with a 2 1/2-inch blade after a 40-mile (64 kilometer) ride from New York to the banker’s $3.4 million home in Darien. Ammar, a native of Egypt and a U.S. citizen, said Jennings told him, “I’m going to kill you. You should go back to your country,” according to a police report.

Jennings faced assault and hate-crime charges, each of which brings a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He was also charged with not paying the fare, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty March 9.

Eugene Riccio, Jennings’s attorney, wouldn’t confirm that the case had been abandoned.

“All I’m saying is we’re showing up,” he said today in a phone interview. “We have a court date Monday, and we’re going to be there.”

Left Bank

Jennings no longer works at New York-based Morgan Stanley, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named because the information isn’t public.

Pen Pendleton, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, the sixth- largest U.S. bank by assets, said in March that Jennings had been placed on leave. Pendleton didn’t immediately return a call for comment today.

Riccio declined to comment on his client’s employment. Jennings didn’t immediately return a phone call to his home.

Steven Weiss, the supervisory state’s attorney, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the status of the case.

“Mr. Ammar is outraged by the prosecutor’s decision and continues to demand justice,” Ammar’s attorney, Hassan Ahmad of Ahmad Navqi Rodriguez LLP in New York, said in a statement. “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.”

‘Seriously Undermine’

On March 28, Jennings filed a motion seeking to have the case dismissed, arguing that Ammar contradicted himself in statements to the police. The arrest warrant contained false statements and omissions that “seriously undermine” Ammar’s credibility, according to the filing by Jennings. That motion was still pending and was to be the subject of an Oct. 15 hearing.

Jennings flagged Ammar down in front of Ink48, a hotel on Manhattan’s West Side, sometime before 11 p.m. after the banker said his car service didn’t appear, according to the police report. Jennings had been attending a company Christmas party.

Ammar told police that once they reached Jennings’s home, he refused to pay the $204 fare they had agreed on. He said he drove away to find police and that during the ride the banker stabbed him in the hand. Jennings said that they never agreed on an amount and that Ammar had demanded $294, which he viewed as exorbitant.

The case is State of Connecticut v. Jennings 12-0176761, Superior Court for the State of Connecticut (Stamford).

To contact the reporter on this story: John Dillon at Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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At 6:10 AM, Anonymous me said...

What's the point of being rich if you can't stab working people and get away with it?

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Anna Van Z said...

If Jennings was not white and/or rich, I wonder how fast he'd be locked up on felony charges...with an impossible bail set. The answer: Immediately.

What blatant bullshit!

At 3:08 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Since Anna has raised the point, that provides me with an opportunity to note that it occurred to me after the post posted that I really should have said in the title: "It just seems like rich white folks get more of it." But maybe Anna's "rich and/or white" is right, since it does seem that if you're white, you don't necessarily have to be rich.

Of course if you're rich AND white . . . .


At 6:27 PM, Anonymous me said...

Of course if you're rich AND white

And republican (or is that redundant?). Repubs get away with stuff a Dem never could.


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