Six witnesses take stand on first day of testimony in Schoharie limo trial

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Witness testimony in the Schoharie limo trial began at 1 p.m. Monday inside the third-floor courthouse.

Six people took the witness stand on Monday. All of them were prosecution witnesses.

The first person was a woman who designed a website for the limousine company that Nauman Hussain was operating.

Her testimony seemed to help establish that even though Shahed Hussain owned Prestige Limousine, his son, Nauman was the man in charge of operations and authorized to make key decisions. That included hiring and firing decisions, and paying employees.

Next up on the witness stand was a woman whose family moved into the Saratoga County motel operated by Hussain. She and her husband were hired by Hussain to help market the motel and do some of the maintenance work on the property.

The third witness was a gentleman who once worked for Nauman Hussain as a limousine driver. He said he drove the 2001 Ford Excursion many times, but not after 2017 because he wasn’t comfortable doing it anymore.

The fourth witness was the insurance agent who sold the livery insurance policy to the Hussains.
That gentleman made it clear Nauman Hussain was the “go to” guy — the contact person at Prestige Limousine — who was authorized to make key business decisions.

When witness number five took the stand, there were minor fireworks. The gentleman previously owned a limousine company in Troy. He is the former owner of the 2001 Ford Excursion. He is the one who hired a Missouri company to modify the vehicle to extend its size.

During cross-examination, Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon asked him if he’s the person who pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzling pension money from the railroad. He was. Because District Attorney Susan Mallery never shared that information with Kindlon, he requested a mistrial.
Mallery said she didn’t know. Kindlon said he discovered it by doing a simple Google search. Judge Peter Lynch denied the mistrial request.

DOT inspector Chad Smith later took the witness stand. He was mentioned many times during opening arguments as the individual who discovered the troubled stretch limo, which led to various citations that rendered it unroadworthy.

More than 100 witnesses are expected before trial’s end.