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Criminal Trial Expected in Road Rage Case

Sun, 10/25/2020 - 12:25
Edmond Chakmakian, center, with David Peralta and Mr. Peralta's mother, Jenny Mera, outside East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday.
Doug Kuntz

Outside East Hampton Town Justice Court on Thursday, friends and family members of David Peralta were seen and heard shouting words of support in Spanish. "David, amigo, estamos contigo" ("David, friend, we are with you"); "Que queremos? Justicia! Cuando? Ahora!" ("What do we want? Justice! When? Now!")

Minutes earlier, inside the courthouse, Justice Steven Tekulsky was presiding over a case in which 31-year-old Charles Streep is charged with felony assault following an alleged road rage altercation in East Hampton Village on Aug. 24. The incident ended in emergency surgery for Mr. Peralta, 18.

"This case is not being handled any differently than any other case," Justice Tekulsky told Mr. Peralta's supporters, some of whom have expressed confusion over the court process.

Thursday's court session was a routine meeting of attorneys, Justice Tekulsky explained. The defendant was not required to be present at the conference. Edmond Chakmakian, Mr. Peralta's lawyer, was in the courtroom. Andrew Weinstein, who will represent Mr. Streep, attended by way of video conference. The two agreed to a short adjournment, until Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. A criminal trial is expected; a civil complaint has been filed in New York City.

"Things don't get resolved in a day," Mr. Chakmakian told the group outside the courthouse. "There's no one to blame [for the delay]. The process has to take its time."

Mr. Chakmakian said he expects video footage of the incident to be released soon. Mr. Weinstein has said that the tape will show “incontrovertible evidence” that proves Mr. Streep "is innocent of these charges."

"The truth will come out. It always does," Mr. Weinstein said in a joint statement with Brian DeSesa, who is also representing Mr. Streep. "We remain confident that a full, fair, and impartial review of the evidence in the case will establish that Mr. Streep did not commit either of the crimes with which he has been charged."

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