WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Cable television newsman Dominic Carter, an influential reporter on New York politics, was convicted Friday of an attempted assault on his wife.
The Rockland County district attorney’s office issued a one-sentence statement Friday saying Carter, 46, was found guilty of third-degree attempted assault.
The maximum sentence is three months in jail.
Carter, who was political anchor on NY1 until the station learned of the accusation, had been accused of the more serious charge of third-degree assault. His wife, Marilyn Carter, called 911 last year from their home in Pomona and claimed he hit her. Photos presented at trial showed the 52-year-old woman’s swollen lip, cut ear and bruised arm and leg.
However, she recanted her allegation on the witness stand during Carter’s Oct. 29 trial in Suffern, N.Y.
In his decision, Ramapo Town Justice Arnold Etelson said he found Marilyn Carter’s revised story “nothing short of preposterous.” But he also found that she did not sustain “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain” as required for a conviction on the assault charge.
Defense attorney Martin Gotkin said Dominic Carter “still maintains his innocence, claims he never did this and he’s going to continue fighting this case to vindicate himself. His intention right now is to appeal.”
NY1 said on the day of the trial that Carter had taken an indefinite leave of absence. On Friday, spokeswoman Nikia Redhead said, “We are in the process of reviewing the court’s decision.”
Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 14.
Carter’s nightly “Inside City Hall” program was must-see TV for those in or interested in New York city and state politics, analysts said. He had interviewed every major politician and moderated many political debates, including one last month between the mayoral candidates.
However, Carter was off the job by Election Day.
His wife’s year-old allegations were made public on the eve of the trial. But before the court session, Carter confidently predicted, “I am about to be vindicated. This was all a misunderstanding.”
His wife acknowledged on the witness stand that she made the 911 call, but said the real assailant was a day laborer whose name she couldn’t remember. She said she told police her husband had beat her because she was angry about an argument they’d had about care for their epileptic son.
Assistant District Attorney Richard Moran protested that her story was unbelievable and suggested she was lying to preserve her marriage and her husband’s livelihood.
When the judge said he would reserve decision, Carter complained from the defense table, pleading that unless he was quickly cleared, “My career is over.”
On the weekend after the trial, the Carters traveled to Kansas City, Mo., and someone identified as a family member called the hotel, supposedly fearing Carter was considering suicide.
Carter told police he was fine but said his wife was missing. She was found the next day at the Kansas City airport and said she simply wanted to get home early, a police spokesman said.
The Carters, who live in Pomona, have been married 24 years and have a 21-year-old daughter, as well as the 17-year-old son.
In 2007, Carter published a memoir, “No Momma’s Boy,” describing childhood abuse at the hands of his mentally ill mother while growing up in the Bronx.
In December, Carter bragged about his political connections as he sought a quick dismissal during a hearing in his assault case.
“I covered the state attorney general and chief judge of the court of the state of New York,” he told the judge. He said former state Chief Judge Judith Kaye and Manhattan District Attorney Bob Morgenthau were “personal friends.”
The judge seemed unimpressed.
“Don’t start dropping names,” he said. “You know better than that.”