Prosecutors, defense present opening statements in Astacio case

Local News

The trial for former Rochester judge Leticia Astacio on gun charges started in Syracuse on Tuesday.

Astacio was arrested last spring after deputies said she violated her probation by trying to buy a gun at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Astacio, who served as a city court judge from 2015 until 2018 when she was removed, was on probation in the aftermath of her drunk driving conviction.

Dick’s Sporting Goods employees ultimately denied Astacio the gun.

Last year, an appellate court allowed for the case to be moved from Henrietta Town Court, where the alleged crime occurred, to another venue, which ultimately brought the case to Syracuse.

Astacio faces charges of attempted criminal purchase of a weapon, a felony.

In opening statements, prosecutors said Astacio violated one of her probation conditions that prohibits her from possessing a dangerous weapon. But the defense says a shotgun doesn’t fall under that classification in the state’s penal code.

“A firearm is defined in different ways throughout the law,” said attorney Mark Foti. “There’s different definitions under federal law, there’s different definitions under state law… As far as the state law goes, a shotgun is precluded.”

Prosecutors argued that she agreed and signed her probation conditions when she was convicted of DWI.

Astacio’s probation officer and the two sales associate from Dick’s Sporting Goods were the first witnesses to take the stand on Tuesday.

While facing trial, Astacio on Monday submitted her petition to make a run for Rochester City Court. Both Astacio and her sister Felicia submitted ballots.

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