Kris Gounden Trial: Assistant Queens County District Attorney Lomp Goes Ballistic and Screams at Judge

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[Speaking Truth To Power: Column] 

It appears that in addition to Joseph Adorno, the key witness in the Kris Gounden alleged hit-and-run case, the lead prosecutor himself also has an anger management problem.

On Friday, the third day of trial, Queens County assistant district attorney Peter Lomp screamed his protests at Judge Eugene Guarino after he denied Lomp's move to enter into evidence a copy of an audio recording secretly made by Gounden when he was arrested Feb. 5, 2018, outside his grandmother's home, after he'd allegedly struck Adorno with his car near 117 Street and Rockaway Blvd., in Queens, and drove off from the scene.

Gounden has maintained all along that Adorno is a liar and that he was in fact the victim. He claims Adorno, who was driving his wife's black BMW on that Feb. 5, 2018 afternoon, tailgated his car and tapped the back several times when he'd stopped at a red light. 

During opening statements Wednesday Gounden's lawyer, Ron Kuby, told the jury that Adorno had offered several  "inconsistent," and "irreconcilable" versions of the incident, as well as about the nature of his injuries. On Thursday, 

Adorno unraveled on the witness stand, under cross examination by Kuby. Adorno was reduced to denying he'd made some statements to EMT workers and ER staffers at Jamaica Hospital where he was taken for treatment for his purported injuries. 

Adorno began to lose his composure when Kuby grilled him about why his injuries kept morphing, starting with a hand injury, then to his back, his left knee, both his shoulders, his ribs, his neck, his head, and by the time he filed a recent civil lawsuit against Gounden and his mother --owner of the car he'd been driving-- his internal organs. At one point Thursday Adorno asked Judge Guarino for a break during the middle of his testimony so he could stretch his back, a body part he'd initially not complained about soon after the alleged hit-and-run. Eventually, Adorno seemed resigned to his fate; he asked Kuby to get along with the questioning so they could come to an end. 

Earlier, Friday, Judge Guarino denied Lomp's attempt to get me on the witness stand to testify about statements Gounden made to me that formed the basis of my articles about the Feb. 15, 2018 incidents and subsequent events. The judge ruled that I could take the witness stand if Gounden took the stand in his defense, and during testimony, denied having made the statements I attributed to him. 

Later, during direct examination of Carlos Bello, the officer who arrested Gounden last year, ADA Lomp tried to enter into evidence a copy of the audio recording made by Gounden. Judge Guarino excused jurors from the courtroom and retired to his chambers to listen to the audio before making a ruling whether to have it admitted into evidence. When he returned the judge told the opposing sides that he was ruling against the recording's admissibility. As the judge explained how he'd come to his decision, it was then that Lomp went ballistic; he yelled at the judge at the top of his lungs. As Lomp's voice echoed in the courtroom, one of two staffers from the district attorney's office seated in the back of the courtroom buried her head. In response to Lomp's outburst, Judge Guarino raised his voice at the ADA, as he continued to explain how he'd arrived at his decision, pointing to testimony that had already been heard in court in addition to Gounden's 911 calls. 

Ironically, as I previously reported, the recording Lomp wanted to admit into evidence would have revealed more inconsistent statements about Adorno's version of the Feb. 5, 2018 incident. Gounden, who'd already been arrested by officers from the 106 more than a dozen times, in a vendetta that's lasted over 12 years, didn't trust the police officers so he had his cellphone recorder running when Bello and others arrived at his grandmother's home. In the recording,

Bello can be heard telling Gounden that Adorno told him that he'd just emerged from an auto-repair shop called V.J.'s when he was struck by Gounden. Yet, Adorno, during his testimony claimed he'd been struck after he'd exited his car to approach V.J.'s. 

In cross examination, Kuby ridiculed Bello's conclusion that Adorno had been in observable pain after the incident because his hand had been trembling. Kuby pulled up a chair so he could be situated right in front of Bello and also just a feet or two from the jury. Kuby wiggled his left hand and asked, "Do I look like I'm in pain?" Judge Guarino sustained Lomp's objection. 

Kuby also got Bello to concede that he and other officers never returned to the actual scene where Adorno claims he was struck by Gounden's vehicle near 117 Street and Rockaway Blvd. Gounden has maintained that officer Bello and others from the 106 precinct rushed to conclusion and arrested him following the pattern of the last 12 years.

The trial could conclude Monday.

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