Morgan Stanley banker contests cab driver's assault story

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 9:53 PM
Morgan Stanley banker contests cab driver's assault story

By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A senior Morgan Stanley investment banker accused of stabbing a taxi driver in a dispute over a fare asked a judge to toss out the criminal case against him because the driver gave differing accounts of the incident to the police.

In papers filed on Wednesday in the Superior Court in Stamford, Connecticut, a lawyer for accused banker William Bryan Jennings said the taxi driver "told a completely different story" to police on different occasions and about key elements of the late-night taxi ride on December 21, 2011.

Jennings, a co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets at the Wall Street bank until being put on leave after his February 29 arrest, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, larceny and "intimidation by bigotry or bias." The charges carry a maximum penalty of 11 years in jail.

According to authorities, the taxi driver, Mohamed Ammar, an Egytian-born U.S. citizen, had agreed with Jennings on a fare of $204 for the 45 miles ride from Manhattan to Jennings' Darien, Connecticut home.

Upon reaching the destination, the driver and Jennings argued about the fare. Police said Jennings began threatening the driver and using racial slurs, and eventually stabbed him with a pen knife.

But Jennings' attorney, Eugene Riccio, argued in the court filing that the case should be dismissed because the taxi driver was inconsistent in his descriptions of the events to police, and even contradicted himself.

On the night of the incident Ammar did not mention to police that Jennings had used a racial slur, and only brought it up a week later, Riccio argued.

Ammar's lawyer declined to comment on the court filing.

A pre-trial hearing is set for April 12.

(Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Michael Perry)