During a Thursday morning conference at East Hampton Justice Court, the assistant district attorney agreed with legal counsel for Charles Streep to dismiss the felony charges, second-degree assault and strangulation, from charges related to Mr. Streep’s alleged Aug. 24 attack on David Peralta in East Hampton Village. The incident left the Springs 18-year-old with serious brain injuries.
After the virtual meeting, two lawyers representing Mr. Streep, Andrew Weinstein and Brian DeSesa, released a statement.
“In our view, today’s proceedings simply confirm what we have said all along — that Mr. Streep was innocent of both of the serious violent felony offenses with which he was charged. Mr. Streep is extremely grateful that both of the felony charges have now been dismissed. Mr. Streep is equally grateful that the District Attorney’s office rejected the misguided lobbying effort by Mr. Peralta’s counsel to have this case prosecuted as a hate crime. As with the original felony charges, we are confident that Mr. Streep will be fully vindicated of the reduced misdemeanor charges as well.”
Mr. Peralta’s lawyer Edmond Chakmakian, who is representing the victim in the civil case, responded to the decision.
“The assistant district attorney handling this matter stated today, in open court and on the record, that his office had reasonable grounds to believe that Streep committed two felonies.”
Mr. Chakmakian explained that John Sciandra, the A.D.A., did not believe the state had enough proof to show Mr. Streep’s intent to cause serious injury, a felony. Instead, they would have "a better shot” at proving his intent to cause injury, a misdemeanor. A felony requires 12 unanimous jurors while a misdemeanor requires six.
“In any event, whether these crimes are prosecuted on the misdemeanor or felony level, the fact remains that Streep’s violent assault left David Peralta-Mera with life-altering injuries," Mr. Chakmakian said. "Whether Streep’s violent outburst was motivated by hate, perceived privilege, or whether he just flew into a 'manic rage' (as one eyewitness has described it), make no mistake, he will be taken to task both criminally and civilly.”