Friday, October 30, 2009

NY1 scandal: Give me a break because I am a 'high-profile journalist,' Dominic Carter begged judge

BY Jill Colvin, Katie Nelson and Corky Siemaszko

Friday, October 30th 2009, 4:00 AM

Dominic Carter with his wife Marilyn at Ramapo Justice Center.
Schwartz for News
Dominic Carter with his wife Marilyn at Ramapo Justice Center.

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NY1 anchorman scandal

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Desperate to bury a career-damaging wife-beating charge, TV newsman Dominic Carter begged a judge to cut him a break because he was a "high-profile journalist" with lots of big-wheel pals.

"I've appeared on the cover of The New York Times and TV Guide," Carter said in a Dec. 11 court appearance in Rockland County that was released Thursday. "I covered the state attorney general and the chief judge of the court."

The New York 1 political anchor also claimed he was friends with former chief judge Judith Kaye and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He punctuated his pleading by insisting over and over, "This is not fair."

If "my political enemies" find out about the charges, Carter warned, "it will end up in the Daily News."

Justice Arnold Etelson put the newsman in his place. "Don't start dropping names," he said. "You know better than that."

The justice also told Carter that "if there's no repetition" of wife-beating, "it's going to go away in a year."

Unfortunately for Carter, the damning accusation roared back Thursday.

Carter was knocked off the air and placed on "indefinite leave of absence" by NY1 just days before the hard-fought mayoral election he had been covering.

"Dominic will not be appearing on New York 1," said the cable channel's general manager, Steve Paulus.

Carter said he understands the decision.

"You can't have a journalist on the air with a cloud of controversy over their head. They had no choice," he said.

Carter had the hammer dropped on him the same day his wife, Marilyn, returned to court and said she lied when she claimed her husband attacked her last October.

With his job on the line, Carter tried pleading again - this time for a favorable ruling.

"In the court of public opinion, if I leave here without an opinion, my career is over," he said.

Again, Etelson told Carter no and ordered the lawyers to submit papers by Nov. 19.

Carter, 45, left the court with his wife.

"I am sticking by him with this," said Marilyn Carter, 52.

The ugly accusation surfaced at a tricky time for Carter, whose "Inside City Hall" program is a must-watch for pols and political junkies.

Carter's contract is up in a month, sources told The News.

Former NY1 co-anchor Davidson Goldin came to his friend's defense.

"I sat inches from Dominic for years, and I never had any reason to think of him as anything but a truly decent guy," he said.

Carter is charged with third-degree assault for attacking his wife on Oct. 22, 2008, and could get up to a year in jail if convicted. He told reporters the incident was "a big misunderstanding" and insisted, "I would never strike my wife."

Marilyn Carter complained her "husband's character is being assassinated."

But in court papers, she - at first - tarred her husband as a wife beater, claiming that "while sitting on the couch the suspect attacked her by punching her about the face area several times and grabbed her by the throat."

A month later, Marilyn Carter recanted.

That led to the Dec. 11 hearing where Carter asked Etelson to bury any record of his wife's charge.

Marilyn Carter now claims she was attacked by a day laborer she picked up on Route 59 near their home - but doesn't know his name.

"You don't ask a laborer his name," she said. "You ask a laborer to work."

Asked why she lied and told a dispatcher Carter had beaten her up, she replied, "I was angry with him."

Prosecutors played a 911 tape on which Marilyn Carter could be heard identifying her assailant as "Dominic Carter."

Marilyn Carter told the court she loved her husband, but also admitted that he called her a "dumb, stupid, project bitch."

Adding to Carter's woes, his angry brother-in-law accused the newsman of fathering two children out of wedlock with a former high school sweetheart.

Marilyn Carter "wanted a divorce for adultery," said Larry Stevens, 62, a retired cop who lives in Queens.

Carter denied it.

"There is no high school sweetheart; there are no other children," he said.

Carter's wife said she and her brother have been fighting over money and Manhattan real estate - not her marriage.

csiemaszko@nydailynews.com

With Sarah Armaghan, Nicholas Hirshon, Elizabeth Benjamin and Tanyanika Samuels

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