Defense bail application in Schoharie case sheds light on potential defense

April 11, 2019 07:16 PM

Nauman Hussain, 29, is the only person charged in connection with the deaths of 20 people following the crash in Schoharie six months ago involving a modified 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine. Nauman Hussain is the business operator of Prestige Limousine. His father, Shahed Hussain, owns Prestige. Defense attorneys say they speak to the father almost weekly. Shahed Hussain -- according to Nauman Hussain's Attorney Lee Kindlon, reportedly wants to come back to the states.

"I don't even know if there is a word, how sorry or remorseful or how sad he is that 20 people lost their lives and that his son is being blamed for something that he didn't do.  He wants to come back, we said look don't come back, because they haven't asked you. You know when you come back we can all do this, and don't come back because he's in such frail health, not just worrying about his son every day, because of all the medical procedures he's had. We worry the flight is going to very difficult, so we've told him to just stay in place until we need you," Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon told NewsChannel 13.


After Wednesday's arraignment of Nauman Hussain, who pleaded not guilty to the 40 count criminal indictment handed up by a grand jury late last Friday, District Attorney Susan Mallery responded, "I don't want to discuss the merits of the investigation, but we've been investigating this for six months."

Lee Kindlon stated, "They've never once asked for him to come back here and explain what happened, never once asked to interview him. Again, the district attorney, or the state police, or Schoharie County Sheriff, no one has ever even mentioned despite the fact that he owned the business, no one has ever mentioned he's a suspect -- which really makes me think that they just reached out and grabbed the closest person they could, and just decide to charge the defendant."

The bail application Attorney Lee Kindlon filed with the Schoharie County Court clerk sheds light on the potential defense of Nauman Hussain, who remains free on $450,000 bond.

"They allege how our client knew, knew the risk and ignored it, but also, didn't know the risk."

The same bail documents shedding insight on what could come at trial in September.

The final pages, citing maintenance records maintained by the prosecution demonstrate Prestige Limo's efforts to maintain the roadworthiness of the modified 2001 Ford stretch limo involved.

Paragraph 39 of the nine-page document states, "to the extent there was any deficiency in that regard, again, there is no persuasive evidence the defendant was aware or had reason to be aware of such deficiency."

Kindlon goes on to call the road conditions at the intersection of the accident treacherous and the road design a quote "substantial contributing factor" to the crash that killed 20 people.

When asked about certain parts of the vehicle in question, Kindlon told NewsChannel 13:

"It was kind of set down that once today happened, the defense and our experts would have access to the transmission and the brakes."

NewsChannel 13 has learned former New Hampshire State Police Corporal Brian Chase and his consulting company was hired by New York State Police to do a forensic analysis on the limo. Kindlon confirms he has seen it.

NewsChannel 13 asked Lee Kindlon how that report compared to what the defense experts have said. "At this point, I'm going to decline just for strategic purposes to discuss the particulars of what might be competing reports," Kindlon stated.

A New York State Police spokesman told NewsChannel 13 by email, "It's not appropriate for us to comment due to the ongoing investigation. On the limos, they are still in State Police custody. We cannot provide any reports at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Brian Chase has stated repeatedly he cannot comment to NewsChannel 13. The District Attorney did not respond to our request for a comment.


Jill Konopka

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