Attorney for Matthew Bonanno requests trial be moved to Bronx

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Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino Jr., left, with Tuckahoe Police Chief John Costanzo. The weapons gathered had been found after a search warrant on Bonanno's vehicle and homes in Great Neck and Mount Pleasant. (Photo courtesy of Westchester County District Attorney's Office)

A lawyer for a plastic surgeon and Great Neck resident, Matthew Bonanno, who is charged with illegal weapons possession has requested that his trial be moved to the Bronx. 

“Dr. Matthew Bonanno cannot get a fair trial here in Westchester County,” the lawyer, Paul Gentile, said Tuesday. “The jury pool has been tainted by the Westchester district attorney, with unlawful accusations of Mr. Bonanno being a domestic terrorist, and a danger to himself, and others.”

Gentile said that the process has begun to move the trial to the Bronx, where he served as  district attorney in 1988.  

Bonanno was arrested on Aug. 12 by Tuckahoe village police in Westchester County after a tip that he was discussing plans to harm his estranged wife. On Sept. 10, he was charged with 53 counts of criminal possession of weapons, according to a news release from the Westchester district attorney’s office.

After working with the district attorney’s office, Tuckahoe police were able to obtain search warrants for Bonanno’s vehicle, as well as his Great Neck residence, officials said.

The search led to police finding rifles, handguns, loaded magazines, ballistic body armor and headgear, face masks, military knives and other weapons in Bonanno’s vehicle, according to  the district attorney’s office.

Courtroom footage from News 12 Westchester showed Gentile claiming that the seizing of weapons from Bonanno’s vehicle was illegal and that his Miranda rights had not been read to him before the arrest.

“The unlawful searches of his vehicle and home were contributing factors to this need of moving the trial out of Westchester,” Gentile said. “Mr. Bonanno is simply an avid gun collector and is not the danger to society that the district attorney is claiming him to be. He hasn’t been charged with anything in relation to the alleged threats against his wife and child, and had his wife, under oath, requesting the order of protection be lifted.”

Footage from the courtroom showed Bonanno’s ex-wife, Marianna Soropoulos, asking Judge George E. Fufidio on Sept. 10 to end an order of protection. 

Gentile said that she never asked for the order and asked that it be lifted to have Bonanno out of jail to provide for her family.

The 47-year-old Bonanno remains in jail on $100,000 cash bail. 

Gentile claimed that a sealed indictment has been handed down in Nassau County, but Brendan Bosh, a spokesperson for the Nassau district attorney’s office, said that the case remained under investigation, according to Newsday.

If the trial does not get relocated to the Bronx, Bonanno is set to return to the Westchester court on Dec. 10, according to Fufidio.

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