Judge’s lawyer: Schoharie limo plea deal rejection was within authority

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A judge being sued by the man charged in the 2018 Schoharie limo crash is now responding to that lawsuit.

Nauman Hussain argues that Judge Peter Lynch overstepped his authority by not abiding by a plea deal that would keep him out of jail.

Hussain was expected to be sentenced to four more years’ probation for his role in the 2018 crash that took the lives of 20 people. The judge at the time, George Bartlett, agreed to the deal that was reached by the District Attorney and Hussain’s lawyers.

However, Bartlett retired and Lynch was assigned to the case. At sentencing, Lynch ruled that he wouldn’t accept the deal and that Hussain could withdraw his guilty plea or go to prison.

Hussain’s attorneys filed the Article 78 lawsuit late last month, saying the judge overstepped his authority by not honoring the deal.

Through his attorney, the judge issued a response that reads in part:

“Judge Lynch acted within his judicial authority in determining the previously negotiated sentence was not appropriate and would not serve the interests of justice based upon all information available to him at the time of sentencing.”

The Schoharie County district attorney, and the State Attorney General’s Office have until Monday to respond to Hussain’s lawsuit.