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Bartlett, Rosenstrach exchanged texts hours before alleged assault

Feb 24, 2021 6:33 am

Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett and Kinderhook resident Alex Rosenstrach, owner of Clublife Health and Fitness, texted each other the evening of July 4, just hours before the alleged July 5 assault of Harold Handy Jr. at a holiday party held at the Rosenstrach residence. Rosenstrach, his wife Kelly Briscoe Rosenstrach, a county Deputy Sheriff; Bryan Haag, an IRS law enforcement agent; and Cory Galord, a contractor, are currently under indictment, facing felony counts of second-degree gang assault and first-degree unlawful imprisonment and accused of restraining and attacking Handy during the party. According to text messages obtained by Columbia-Greene Media, Bartlett and Alex Rosenstrach communicated between 9:15 p.m. and 9:21 p.m., July 4. "You can do better than that,” Bartlett texted to Rosenstrach at 9:15 p.m. Rosenstrach responded, “I miss you. Thank you Dave. It’s coming big brother. Love you guys.” Six minutes later, at 9:21 p.m., Bartlett sent another text with two photos of fireworks attached. “Cars parked all along best road (sic) we had a little block party and people are watching,” Bartlett wrote. In an interview with a reporter February 23, Bartlett said, “...Our block had a block party that night. We live a mile-and-a-half away from Rosenstrach’s house and he had fireworks every year — he has fireworks. And even with the investigation and the indictment, he was never charged with unlawful possession of fireworks, so he probably had a permit. The kids were asking when the fireworks were starting, so I had texted asking when the fireworks were starting. And then I said, ‘Hey it was a great show,’ and that was that.” Bartlett and Rosenstrach are neighbors. “I know the guy,” Bartlett said. “It’s a small town we live in. I know a lot of people up here. ...I literally can see his house from the other end of the cornfield.” Bartlett said the last time he was at Rosenstrach's house it was three years ago when, as fire chief, he was there to put a fire out. Bartlett said the release of the text messages was political — he is seeking re-election in November. “This is politically motivated,” he said. “The Republican [Committee endorsement] vote is Saturday, and all of a sudden, mysteriously, all these things have been getting leaked out. The state police did forensics on these phones for two months, so I don’t know who leaked this out, but it had to come from somewhere, not from the state police, but somewhere official." The sheriff’s office led the initial investigation into the incident; but the state police took over the case in August. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.