Bail was finally set at $500,000 for Michael Enright, the 21-year-old student charged with attacking a Muslim cab driver because of his race last month. It was twice as much as defense attorneys asked for, but Enright's mother said she was willing to put up her $300,000 home in Brewster, N.Y. toward bail. Even so, the judge ordered that if Enright does make bail, he must wear a monitoring bracelet and observe an 8 p.m. curfew.
Enright, who was transferred to Rikers after a short stay at Bellevue Hospital Center, is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. His attorneys have revealed the strategy for their defense: they said in court documents that they'll argue Enright suffered post traumatic stress from the weeks spent making a documentary while embedded with the Marines in Afghanistan. As for his alleged confession to police, they argue that, "the statements...appear to be alcohol induced or the product of temporary insanity."
Prosecutors scoff at the argument: "Nothing in [Enright's] own account of his experiences in Afghanistan indicates that he witnessed or participated in any combat or otherwise traumatizing experience," Assistant District Attorney James Zaleta wrote in filings. They allege that Enright was a drunk who had intended to kill cab driver Ahmed Sharif, and even lied to police on the scene: "He told the police officer that the man covered in blood from head to foot, walking towards the scene and calling for help as blood gushed from his neck, had tried to rob the defendant."
For his part, Sharif has not returned to work since the Aug. 24 attack, and is still haunted by the visage of Enright: "It still shakes me; my mind is still shocked. I still have nightmares. I wake up after two or three hours of sleep. I can't sleep at night."