Nunez’s history limited for trial
Prosecutors will not be allowed to delve into the reasons Dr. Gilberto Nunez was convicted of possessing a forged instrument should he take the stand in his upcoming trial for insurance fraud, a judge has ruled.
Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Maryellen Albanese had hoped to question Nunez — a Kingston dentist who was acquitted in June of murdering his lover’s husband — about the details of his convictions as a way to call his credibility into question when he
stands trial starting Oct. 17 in connection with a fire at a building he owned.
At the murder trial, Nunez was found guilty of two counts of possession of a forged instrument for having a fake CIA identification card on his computer and for giving his former lover a letter purporting to be from a CIA agent.
Nunez has not been charged with starting the fire that destroyed the building at 381 Washington Ave. in Uptown Kingston, next to his dental office, but has been charged with felony counts of falsifying business records, grand larceny and insurance fraud in connection with an allegedly fraudulent $8,400 insurance claim he filed as a result of the blaze.
Ulster County Judge Donald A. Williams ruled Wednesday that if Nunez takes the stand, prosecutors can ask him if he was convicted of the prior crimes but not about the “underlying facts” of those convictions, because Nunez plans to appeal his convictions once he’s sentenced.
Williams said to let the prosecution delve into the reasons for the convictions while an appeal is pending could result in any convictions in the insurance fraud case being overturned.
Prosecutors will be permitted to introduce into evidence the initial application for insurance coverage that Nunez filed, Williams ruled, saying they are “highly relevant” to Nunez’s intent and “contain necessary background information leading up to the alleged actions.”
Prosecutors claim that Nunez filed fraudulent insurance claims following the Feb. 20, 2014, fire that destroyed the Washington Avenue building. His attorneys, though, say their client did “absolutely nothing wrong” and that the amount cited in the indictment represents a “tiny fraction” of an otherwise undisputed claim for the building.
Albanese, appointed special prosecutor in the case, submitted to the court a list of 36 potential witnesses but said she probably will call roughly 20 witnesses to the stand during the trial. Nunez’s attorney, Evan Lipton, did not say whether Nunez would take the stand.
Nunez was found not guilty on June 14 in the November 2011 death of Thomas Kolman.
Kolman, 44, whose wife Linda was having an affair with Nunez, was found dead in his vehicle at a plaza in the town of Ulster, and prosecutors alleged Nunez poisoned him with a dental sedative so that he could have Mrs. Kolman to himself. The defense said Nunez and Thomas Kolman were best friends and that the dentist had nothing to do with the death.
Williams has said that he will not sentence Nunez on the forged instrument convictions until after the dentist stands trial for the charges related to the as well as for charges of perjury, offering a false instrument for filing and making an apparently sworn false statement in connection to allegedly filing false information while applying for a pistol permit. Jury selection for that trial is expected to begin on Nov. 14.