Schenectady councilman pleads not guilty to harassment charge

Councilman John Mootooveren is due back in court on April 5.
City Councilman John Mootooveren, right, and his attorney Steven Kouray enter Schenectady City Police Court on Thursday morning
City Councilman John Mootooveren, right, and his attorney Steven Kouray enter Schenectady City Police Court on Thursday morning

SCHENECTADY — City Councilman John Mootooveren pleaded not guilty to a harassment charge Thursday.

Mootooveren was arraigned before City Court Judge Guido Loyola. The case was adjourned to April 5, but not before county Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Waldin asked for an order of protection against Mootooveren.

Steven Kouray, Mootooveren’s attorney, objected to the motion before the attorneys quietly spoke with each other in court.

After they were done, Waldin rescinded her request, and the case was adjourned.

In the court gallery was Councilman John Polimeni, who left with Mootooveren, Kouray and another man who declined to identify himself.

Polimeni would not say why he was there.

Mootooveren was charged earlier this month with harassment, a violation, for allegedly throwing an alcoholic drink in the face of 58-year-old city resident Nandalall Hariraj during the early morning hours of Jan. 14.

The alleged incident took place at The Exit Bar and Lounge at 868 Crane St. It caused Hariraj to seek medical attention, as he said the drink caused his eyes to burn.

Kouray said he plans to speak with the county District Attorney’s office the morning of Mootooveren’s next appearance, in the hopes of coming to a resolution.

When asked whether a deal would be struck, Kouray gave a vague response.

“I want to bring things to [the DA’s] attention that they may not be aware of,” Kouray said.

He would not provide details, other than saying the “things” would relate to the history between Mootooveren and Hariraj.

Kouray didn’t deny Mootooveren threw a drink the evening of Jan. 14, but he did say it was a “question of fact” as to whether he did it intentionally.

“My position is he didn’t do it intentionally,” Kouray said.

Kouray previously said Hariraj approached Mootooveren on Jan. 14 because he was upset he couldn’t get a zoning variance. He also called the incident “trivial,” and, “blown out of proportion.”

Hariraj claimed he was getting ready to leave the bar that evening when he started taking video of the crowd with his phone, catching Mootooveren on camera. He said Mootooveren threw the drink at him just after he stopped taking video.

Mootooveren is serving his second four-year term on City Council. He first won his seat in 2013.

Categories: News, Schenectady County


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