Iqbal Hussain case gets complicated
March 14, 2019 at 7:34 a.m.
Iqbal Hussain is entangled in the slow-moving New York State judicial system, and so far, the longer the delays, the longer any kind of justice is denied.
On Tuesday, Mar. 12, in a brief appearance in Judge Susan Cacace’s courtroom in White Plains, the 27-year-old from Bangladesh who, while working as an Uber driver on June 8, 2018, allegedly sexually groped a 39-year-old Rye Brook woman in the back seat of his car while she was sleeping, was once again given a judicial delay – this time until Mar. 28, when he will appear in Judge Barry Warhit’s courtroom for “trial assignment.” Hussain spent months in the Rye Town Court system before his case was determined to be a felony and moved to the state courts in White Plains.
The slightly built, now cleanly shaven Hussain, dressed in a dark blue hooded sweatshirt and loosely fitting jeans, was accompanied by his attorney, former Westchester County Asst. D.A. Andrew Proto. Opposite the witness table was a large television screen hooked up to a SKYPE video feed of a middle-aged female Bangladeshi-speaking court-appointed interpreter.
Afterwards, briefing his client in the public corridor outside the courtroom, Proto was heard to tell his client “don’t worry.”
If there is any kind of public trial, complicating matters for the defense is the widely distributed story of Uber driver Harmir Parmar, 25, of Howard Beach, Queens. Parmar pled guilty in White Plains Federal Court Monday, Mar. 11, and will be sentenced June 24 to kidnapping and wire fraud in a case with eerie similarities to Hussain’s. The kidnapping charge carries a potential life sentence; the wire fraud carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
According to a statement from Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York:
“On Feb. 21, 2018, Parmar, who worked as a driver for a ridesharing company (“Company-1”), picked up an individual (“Victim-1”) in Manhattan, New York, who sought to be driven to White Plains, N.Y. After Victim-1 fell asleep in the backseat of the vehicle, Parmar changed Victim-1’s destination in Company-1’s mobile application to an address in Boston, Mass., and proceeded to drive toward that location. When Victim-1 awoke, the vehicle was in Connecticut. Victim-1 requested that she be taken to White Plains or to the police station, but Parmar refused. Parmar instead dropped Victim-1 off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Conn. Victim-1 went to a nearby convenience store where she sought assistance.
In addition, from December 2016 through February 2018, Parmar sent false information about the destinations of Company-1’s customers through Company-1’s mobile application on several occasions. At times, he also sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of Company-1’s customers. In these instances, customers of Company-1 filed complaints with Company-1 about being overcharged for their rides. These instances have resulted in thousands of dollars in improper charges to the accounts of Company-1’s customers.”