In the September 13th Democratic primary, Christopher X. Brodeur won 16,561 votes. Today he was in Criminal Court—with Ron Kuby at his side—after 12 days in Rikers on charges of resisting arrest and harassment, the latter referring to his alleged threat to physically harm New York Observer columnist Ben Smith.
Brodeur is not a sympathetic character. Besides the phone call to Smith that reportedly mentioned gunplay and a baseball bat attack, he is also under investigation for a message to Post reporter Maggie Haberman that allegedly suggested harm might come to her family. Even his normal tirades against the press, delivered in voicemail and email form, get way too personal; despicably, he once called NY1’s Dominic Carter an “Uncle Tom.” And reporters aren’t his only targets. When he and other minor candidates were not invited to a candidates debate on park policy held this summer, Brodeur berated the low-key mediator and later threatened to get the sponsor’s nonprofit status revoked.
The charges against Brodeur are misdemeanors, and he has not been tried yet. He spent 12 days in Rikers because at his arraignment the prosecutor asked the judge to remand Brodeur for a psychological screening, ostensibly to see if he was competent. That has happened to Brodeur before, back when he was hounding Rudy Giuliani; he passed the test back then.
The lengthy pre-trial detention, which put Brodeur on ice for Election Day, is what brought Kuby into the case. “I don’t champion Mr. Brodeur’s form of political speech,” Kuby told the Voice on Friday. “But what happened to him is unconscionable.” Unveiled in court on Monday, the latest psych report again shows that Brodeur is competent.
Duh, Kuby argued. “At no point did Christopher Brodeur ever manifest any symptom of any kind that would have warranted a psychological remand,” Kuby told the judge, calling the 12-day lock-up a “Soviet-style” move that means Brodeur has “already served a substantial portion of the sentence” if he is convicted.
Prosecutor Duncan Levin then asked for $15,000 bail, “which I know is a high bail for a misdemeanor.” But, Levin said, Brodeur is already due in court for two other cases— calling City Hall 1,400 times in a month and allegedly threatening his landlord and rent collector. And when the cops went to arrest Brodeur for threatening Ben Smith, Levin said, “the defendant refused to come out of his apartment”—where cops were waiting between the hours of 9 and 6—for three days. “He has a history of behavior in which he shows disrespect to the court,” Levin said. “He has a history of showing that he places his own interest above that of society.” Evidence of that, he said, is that Brodeur always shows up for his court hearings. “This is his job,” Levin quipped.
Kuby wondered why bail was necessary for someone who always shows up to court, and accused the DA’s office of trying “to incarcerate someone in a form of preventative detention.” And was it really Brodeur’s duty to leave his apartment to get arrested by cops who didn’t yet have a warrant for his arrest?
Bail was set at $7,500.