A Republican Congressman has been accused of using his position to get his partner’s son out of jail.
Dan Donovan, a former district attorney who now represents Staten Island, New York in the Congress, is said to have used this position to get the son of his partner favorable treatment after the latter was arrested for heroin offences in 2015.
Timothy O’Connell, the son of Serena Stonick, was arrested along with a female friend for the “criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance”. Donovan then allegedly visited the jail in Staten Island where O’Connell and his friend were being held and reportedly used his position to get the then-19-year-old out of jail on a “desk appearance ticket”, thereby hindering the normal procedure.
A desk appearance ticket allows the holder to get out of jail and appear in court on a later date. The card is usually given for minor drug offences, and not typically for heroine.
More details on the case could not be accessed since it has been sealed.
Not only has Donovan denied the charges, he has termed them a case of defamation, citing his clean record as proof.
“Like many families, Dan has been dealing with a loved one’s opioid addiction — in private until now. These allegations are not only 100 percent false, but Dan has a long history of recusing himself from matters involving close friends and family,” said Donovan spokesman Pat Ryan.
Ryan added that the timing of the allegations was suspect and deemed them as a “pathetic” attempt at “political point-scoring” two months before the elections.
To further demonstrate the impartiality of Donovan, Ryan noted that Dan started dating Serena in 2011. At that time, she told him about her daughter’s struggle with addiction and that she was then at a drug treatment court. As the District Attorney at that time, Donovan requested a special prosecutor for the case.
O’Connell’s attorney said that his client had been arrested for possessing, and not for selling, drugs. The attorney added that when O’Connell and his friend were pulled over, heroine was found in the friend’s wallet. O’Connell also took a similar line of defense, saying he never drinks or does drugs, but goes to the church every Sunday.
The arrest report, however, suggested that O’Connell was seen buying heroine.
The friend refused to comment when she was contacted.
This is not the first time Donovan has been embroiled in controversy. Previously, as DA, he had failed to indict police officers who murdered an unarmed black man, Eric Garner. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe”, caught on camera, galvanized the masses but failed to move Donovan.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Brendan McDermid