Public defender negotiating plea deal
By Chip Rowe
The prosecution of Charles E. “Chuck” Hustis III, who was arrested by the FBI in Cold Spring on Dec. 16 and accused of soliciting a minor for sex, has been continued until Feb. 12 while his federal public defender attempts to negotiate a plea deal.
According to documents filed in federal court on Wednesday (Jan. 15), Benjamin Gold, who represents the former Cold Spring Village trustee and mayoral candidate, is talking with federal prosecutors about “possible disposition of the case without trial.”
The government asked a judge to delay the case for 28 days, which she did.
Hustis, 36, faces at least 10 years in prison if convicted of the charge. According to the criminal complaint, he was arrested in the Foodtown parking lot after allegedly arranging to meet and have sex with a 16-year-boy with whom he had been corresponding on Facebook Messenger. In fact, the boy had alerted authorities and an FBI agent posing as the teen continued the interaction with Hustis, the complaint said. (The age of consent in New York State is 17.)
Following his arrest, the judge released Hustis on $150,000 bond but placed him under home detention with a monitoring device, allowing only visits to his job (although Foodtown, which employed Hustis as a manager, said he has been fired), religious services, medical treatment or court appearances.
Hustis also was ordered to continue psychiatric treatment; surrender any firearms; not drink alcohol; submit to random drug testing; turn in any devices capable of internet access, including his phone; and “refrain from any internet access or computer use of any kind,” including on his mother’s iPad, which the judge ordered secured with a password.
At the request of his attorney, Hustis was allowed to visit his grandmother’s home on Christmas Day for a family celebration, according to court documents.
CORRECTION: The original post of this story said that Hustis would face “up to 10 years in prison” if convicted. In fact, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. This has been corrected in the text.