Yesterday the trial began for the postal worker involved in the fatal accident that killed Marilyn Dershowitz as she rode her bike in Chelsea last summer. After moving testimony from Dershowitz's husband Nathan, defense lawyer John Arlia cross-examined him and claimed that his famous brother pressured the Manhattan DA's office to pursue the case, despite a lack of evidence. "There was influence placed on the DA's office," Arlia said, according to the Daily News. Nathan Dershowitz admitted under oath that initially "the case was terminated," but then revived.
Arlia implied that a letter sent by Nathan Dershowitz and phone calls from his brother Alan forced the DA's hand, and that his client, Ian Clement, had no idea he had been involved in the incident because no one approached his truck. "When you wait three minutes and nobody approaches your truck, it is natural to assume you're not involved," the Post quotes Arlia telling the jurors. Clement had been a postal driver for 28 years, and had a clean driving record.
A spokesman for the Manhattan DA's office said, "The decision to file charges in this case was made, as in every case, based on the facts and the evidence available." The prosecutor, Erin LaFarge, told jurors, "He knew, or should have known, that someone was hurt. He hears the horrified screaming of people behind him. He hears honking, sees people getting out of their cars. He does nothing."
Marilyn Dershowitz was run over by the 7-ton mail truck during what her husband described as a leisurely ride. "There was a commotion…I yelled…'Is that my wife'? I saw her on the ground. I saw the bicycle bent," Dershowitz testified, according to DNAinfo. Witnesses said she was bleeding from her eyes, ears, and mouth. Tire marks were visible on her shoulder and back, and her helmet was broken, crushed by the impact.
Dershowitz described for the jury the moments after being told that his wife wouldn't survive: "I went in and I spent about five, ten minutes. I was just talking to Marilyn and she wasn't talking back. Then I just kissed her, and went out."