Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The case against an assistant U.S. attorney is expected to be dismissed if he stays out of trouble.
Craig Benedict was charged with criminal nuisance in mid-July when deputies were called to a graduation party at his home in Cazenovia.
Investigators believed underage people at the party had access to alcohol, but Benedict’s lawyer insists they showed up uninvited and brought their own beer as word of the party spread via text or e-mail messages. Defense Attorney Arthur Bigsby said it was unclear who sent the messages.
"They were basically announcing there is a BYOB party later in the evening or early in the morning at the Benedict's house. Further evidence shows that Mr. Benedict wasn't supplying any alcohol to children." said Bigsby. "Late that evening, via Internet messages, there were several uninvited people that invaded their home, some of whom brought alcohol or attempted to bring alcohol onto the premises."
A special prosecutor appointed to the case, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl, said there simply wasn't enough evidence that Benedict knew underage people were drinking at his home. He also said the only witness who offered statements against Benedict was "intoxicated."
Police called to Craig Benedict's home moved forward with charges in July because he was considered uncooperative. Bigsby insists Benedict reacted with caution because he was worried about retaliation against his younger son, who was reportedly attacked as he tried to turn away some of the uninvited guests.
"I think there was a misinterpretation of what he was attempting to communicate to the police. He wanted to cooperate. He wanted time to digest the situation, to see what his son's condition was and to evaluate what his options were and he had the assailant's vehicle stuck in a ditch right across the street," Bigsby said. "From all accounts, there were 15 to 20 of these kids that beat his son up. That is quite a force."
Town Justice Fred Palmer agreed to an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) regarding the criminal nuisance charge against Craig Benedict. As long as he doesn't commit any serious offenses in the next six months, the case will be dismissed.
"This is nothing exceptional. It was really a petty crime that was ACD'd like most of them are,” said Bigsby.