YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Jurors today convicted a Marine MP of illegal possession of a weapon without a permit following a Christmastime melee outside a Fort Lee nightclub.
Hisashi Pompey sat stoically as the verdict was read, following more than three hours of deliberations.
He remains free on $10,000 bail pending a Sept. 6 sentencing by Superior Court Judge Edward Jerejian.
Defense attorney John Carbone said he believed there would have been a different verdict if Jerejian allowed jurors to be told that they could have found that he made a mistake in judgment and didn’t act deliberately and if the judge had agreed that Pompey was in-between military destinations.
As a result, he said, he was filing an immediate appeal.
Jerejian said that the cases that Carbone presented as arguments involved municipal statutes and not New Jersey gun control laws. The judge added that Pompey wasn’t a federal law enforcement officer and wasn’t in-between military visits.
Pompey, who testified in his own defense yesterday, was convicted of one count of unlawfully carrying the handgun in connection with the Dec. 26, 2011 incident ( SEE: Marine on trial for having gun outside Fort Lee club testifies in own defense ).
The Marine told jurors that his friend had been involved in the fracas back at the club while he was at his car, parked in a lot behind the Port Authority administration building off Lemoine Avenue near the George Washington Bridge. There, he said, he put on his holster, took his gun out of a bag and loaded it.
Moments later, his friend grabbed the weapon, he said — at which point several Port Authority officers had arrived.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Edward Burke asked Pompey why he didn’t try to tackle Wilson.
“You were fit, trained in combat. You have a brown belt in martial arts,” Burke told him. “You describe Mr. Wilson as coming out of the club bloody and wobbly.
“You could have tackled him.”
Standing down was the appropriate response given the number of uniformed officers present, Pompey responded.
From there, he said, he simply waited until Wilson had been subdued and handcuffed to approach the police and take responsibility for the weapon.
“I thought military weapons were covered in all states,” he said. “If I had known they weren’t recognized in New Jersey, I never would have brought it here.”
Wilson pleaded guilty on May 2 for his part in the incident, which will require him to serve three years in state prison for having a firearm without a permit.
STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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