An engaged couple accused of trying to pass fake $50 bills late last year each pleaded guilty to a felony Monday and are to get probation.
The pleas were marked by an admonishment given from the judge to one of the defendants over a seeming threat muttered under his breath during his fiancée’s plea.
The judge also ordered defendant Michael J. Keith, 25, of Fort Plain, to leave the courtroom during Natasha Duncan’s plea.
At the conclusion of Duncan’s plea, a court officer who stood near Keith reported hearing him say he was “going to slap the [expletive] out of her.”
When he entered his own plea later, Judge Karen Drago took Keith to task.
“Your behavior was totally unacceptable and, as a matter of fact, was downright disturbing to the court,” she told him.
She also noted there was no apology in court. Keith responded: “I already said I was sorry to her in the hallway.”
Both Keith and Duncan, who was 18 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Keith seemed to become angry in court as Drago spelled out a component of the plea, that Duncan would have to cooperate against him and another co-defendant.
Drago asked Duncan what her connection was to the other co-defendant, Terrence D. Duncan, 33, of Schenectady. Natasha Duncan said there was no relation but added that Keith was her fiancé.
Drago then emphasized that Natasha Duncan would have to testify against Keith if need be. With Keith’s own plea later, though, her testimony against Keith was not expected to be required. Keith’s plea had the same provisions.
After Keith was asked to leave, Natasha Duncan chose to go forward with the plea.
After Keith was admonished and offered a delay to speak with his attorney, he also chose to go forward.
They are both expected to get five years of probation.
The three were accused of trying to pass fake $50 bills in Schenectady in November.
Natasha Duncan was accused of possessing a fake $50 bill on three occasions at Taco Del Mar, 1491 State St. — twice Nov. 19 and once Nov. 21.
Terrence Duncan was accused of passing a fake bill at Taco Del Mar, while Keith was accused of using a phony bill at Coffee Time, near Taco Del Mar. The status of Terrence Duncan’s case could not be determined Monday.