Update, 10:30 a.m. Benny Geritano has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree, various counts of assault, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, according to the criminal complaint filed with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.
Benny Geritano was merely protecting himself against a knife-wielding attack by local pizza shop owner Mark Iacono when , Geritano's lawyer said at his arraignment Sunday afternoon.
"Iacono's knife landed the first blow," said Steve R. Kartagener in Brooklyn criminal court, adding that Geritano's blade was a 3-inch pocket knife, while Iacono's was the size of a "butcher knife."
Judge Rachel Adams set Geritano's bail at $250,000 cash or bond, and required a bail source hearing, at the request of Assistant District Attorney Michael Trabulsi.
According to a spokesman in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, , two counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Kartagener asked Judge Adams to set the bail lower, at $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000, arguing Geritano should be allowed to build his defense case outside of Riker's.
"There is no question Mr. Geritano has a lengthy record," he admitted. "At the same time the law is clear: even a convicted felon has a right to act in self defense."
Geritano appeared dressed in jeans, white sneakers and a rumpled and unbuttoned blue shirt. He had visible bandages on his hands and neck and at one point he pulled up his shirt, revealing more bandages on the left side of his torso.
"His entire side has been sliced," said Kartagener.
Trabulsi pointed to Geritano's checkered past, "three conditions for bail jumping, violent convictions, racketeering charges," among others, and told the judge repeatedly that Geritano "puts his interests over those of society."
Kartagener said police have already determined Geritano was cut first. After a verbal argument between Geritano and Iacono, he said, Geritano tried to walk away, and was then stabbed in the back by Iacono. He added that Geritano would need surgery.
While leaving the courthouse, Kartagener, who once represented former Genevose crime family boss, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, said rumors of any Mafia connection to the stabbing were baseless.
There's "no reason to believe it has anything to do with organized crime," he said.