New Year’s Day 2014 incident
By Michael Turton
Two of three charges against Ray DiFrancesco, operator of Whistling Willie’s American Grill, were dismissed by Judge Thomas Costello at Cold Spring Justice Court on Monday, May 4.
DiFrancesco was arrested by Cold Spring Police on Feb. 12, 2014, and charged with assault, reckless endangerment and making a false statement, all misdemeanors stemming from an incident that took place near the intersection of Main Street and Morris Avenue (Route 9D) in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2014. While the assault and reckless endangerment charges have been dismissed, the charge of making a false statement still applies, and a jury trial is scheduled for May 18. Court Clerk Cathy Costello told Philipstown.info that a pool of 30 potential jurors has been selected.
Laurence Silverman, DiFrancesco’s attorney, had informed the court in April that he would file a notice of motion to have all the charges dismissed “in the interests of justice.” One month earlier, in March, the Putnam County Supreme Court had rejected his motions to have the case dismissed and to disqualify Judge Costello.
John Zarcone, a colleague of Silverman who has represented DiFrancesco at some of his court appearances, told Philipstown.info in a telephone interview that the two charges had been dropped due to a lack of evidence. “It’s actually more than just a lack of evidence; our client did nothing wrong,” he said. “The man did nothing wrong.”
The Cold Spring Justice Court next meets on May 13, four days prior to DiFrancesco’s scheduled trial. Assistant District Attorney David Bishop is handling the case on behalf of Putnam County.