Handy assault case goes to trial Monday
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports for the Times Union that more than two years after mechanic Harold Handy was badly beaten during a July 4th party at the Kinderhook home of a Columbia County sheriff's deputy, jury selection is set to begin November 28, in the trial of his alleged assailants. Deputy Kelly Rosenstrach; her husband, former gym owner Alex Rosenstrach; IRS agent Bryan Haag; and contractor Corey Gaylord were indicted on gang assault charges in the case, which sent Handy to the hospital in the early hours of July 5, 2020. Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek dismissed the top charges against all four in December 2021, but each of them still faces a felony charge of unlawful imprisonment, as well as various misdemeanors. The trial will begin Monday, then recess for December 8 and 9 before resuming on December 12, according to Paul DerOhannesian [Deh-ROH-hann-eesian] II, Haag's attorney. Handy's then-fiancee alleged in a deposition that Alex Rosenstrach punched Handy three times in the face and put him in a choke hold after the mechanic tried to participate in a martial arts demonstration at the party. As Handy and his fiancee tried to leave the party, Alex Rosenstrach attacked the man again. According to the deposition, several partygoers allegedly joined Rosenstrach in beating Handy and Kelly Rosenstrach warned Handy's fiancee to not call the police. Handy's fiancee was eventually allowed to call paramedics, who arrived at the party with on-duty sheriff's deputies. The deposition was given under oath, but counsel for the defendants were not able to challenge her account. In a recent interview, DerOhannesian said on the night of the assault, his client was "clearly acting in response to a threat," adding that Haag was not present for many of the alleged events that night. Handy claimed his injuries required surgery to insert a metal plate into his face, but the DA's office was never able to produce the medical documents to substantiate the claim. That led to Koweek's dismissal of the top counts as charged by the grand jury. The charge of unlawful imprisonment, if proven, carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Read more in the Times Union.