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Hussain remains on track for March trial in Schoharie limo crash case

Hussain remains on track for March trial in Schoharie limo crash case

Defendant charged in deaths of 20 limo passengers
Hussain remains on track for March trial in Schoharie limo crash case
Nauman Hussain enters Schoharie County Court for a hearing on Wednesday.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHOHARIE -- The Nauman Hussain manslaughter trial in connection with last year's deadly Schoharie limousine crash remains on track to start March 9, following a conference between the judge and attorneys in the case on Wednesday.

Following the one-hour, 40-minute closed-door conference, Schoharie County Court Judge George R. Barrett III said pre-trial evidence discovery "seems to be on track."

Hussain, 29, of Wilton, faces 20 counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection with the Oct. 6, 2018, limousine crash two miles north of the village that killed 20 people, including everyone in the stretch limousine.

Hussain was the operator of the limousine company, Prestige Limousine, though it is owned by his father, who has been outside the country since before the crash.

Prosecutors allege that the stretched 2001 Ford Excursion had mechanical issues, including brake problems, that Hussain had not adequately addressed, and that the vehicle suffered a catastrophic brake failure while coming down a hill toward the intersection of state routes 30 and 30A.

Questions about whether the March trial date could still be met arose within the last week, after defense attorney Lee Kindlon notified Barrett that grand jury minutes he expected to receive by Nov. 15 hadn't been turned over by District Attorney Susan Mallery's office. Grand jury minutes are generally secret, and Mallery indicated she wouldn't release them without a court order. Barrett issued that order on Monday.

Kindlon also asked that Wednesday's previously scheduled conference be postponed because of the delay, but Barrett refused to grant that request.

"I think we're on track," Kindlon said in court at the end of the conference.

Neither Mallery or Kindlon would comment to reporters following the proceeding. Barrett set the next pre-trial conference for Jan. 22.

Hussain, who is free on a $450,000 bail bond, potentially faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He, his father and the limousine company also face numerous civil lawsuits from the families of victims of the crash, who were young adults -- most from the Amsterdam area -- on their way to a birthday celebration in Cooperstown.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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