The man charged in the Monsey Chanukah attack that left five people wounded, one critically, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other state charges on Thursday.
Grafton Thomas appeared in Rockland County Court. On Monday, he also pleaded not guilty to federal hate-crime charges.
His lawyer, Michael Sussman, has said Thomas suffers from mental illness and is not responsible for his actions.
Prosecutor Dominic Crispino said in court on Thursday that Sussman should resign from the case because he videotaped evidence being taken out of Thomas’ cabin and therefore became a witness, the Journal News reported.
Sussman said he would not be resigning. Judge Kevin Russo said he would rule on the matter when the prosecutor puts his request in writing.
Sussman also said he wants to visit the home of Harav Chaim Leibish Rottenberg in Monsey, where the attack occurred on Dec. 28, so he can get a sense of what Thomas was experiencing at the scene. Crispino argued against that; the judge said he would consider the request.
Sussman said he has no explanation as to why Thomas went to Harav Rottenberg’s home and no indication that Thomas knew anyone in the congregation.
One of the victims, 72-year-old Yehosef Neumann, remains in a coma with a fractured skull and other injuries.
Readers are asked to continue davening for the refuah sheleimah of Yehosef ben Perel, b’soch she’ar cholei Yisrael.