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The trial of Brooklyn state Senator Kevin Parker for assaulting a New York Post photographer last year was supposed to get underway Monday morning, in plenty of time for a verdict before the Sept. 14th Democratic primary. There, Parker is facing a challenge from health care businessman Wellington Sharpe who claims Parker is just too hot-headed to hold office. Worse, since Parker faces felony assault charges, a conviction would have meant automatic expulsion from the senate.
Well, forget about that. This morning the case took a detour into deeply weird territory – even for the Brooklyn courts – when prosecutors told Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog that they had suddenly learned that Sharpe’s son is an assistant District Attorney assigned to the same bureau that is prosecuting the case.
Wynton Sharpe, it turns out, has been a prosecutor “for several years” under D.A. Joe Hynes, but no one knew he was the son of the longtime candidate. As a result, Hynes’ representatives told Firetog the entire office is conflicted out of the case, and it should go to a special prosecutor. Firetog agreed, and the next court date is now set for October 18 – more than a month after the primary vote.
“We never knew it until yesterday,” a Hynes spokesman said. “It just came up in conversation when someone in the bureau asked about Parker’s political situation.” Wellington Sharpe’s name came up and the younger Sharpe was asked if he was any relation. “He says, ‘yes, he’s my father.'”
The younger Sharpe had nothing to do with preparing the case against his dad’s opponent, Hynes’ office said. But for having failed to make his relationship known previously, Wynton Sharpe was immediately suspended without pay. Firetog was asked to appoint a special prosecutor in this case as well.
Parker’s attorney, Lonnie Hart, asked for the case to be dismissed, but Firetog rejected that request.
Wynton Sharpe told the Times‘s Colin Moynihan that he had no comment on the matter.
As for his dad, Wellington Sharpe and his campaign aides have been ducking calls all day.