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April 30, 2014

Donah takes plea deal; will not face May trial

PLATTSBURGH — Trevor J. Donah accepted a plea on Tuesday that means he won’t stand trial for rape in May.

Instead, the former state trooper admitted guilt to one misdemeanor count of unlawful imprisonment and was given a year in Clinton County Jail — concurrent to the two-year sentence pronounced last week for misdemeanor convictions in an earlier domestic-abuse case.

Donah’s demeanor before Clinton County Court Judge Patrick McGill on Tuesday differed greatly with that of a week ago, said Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Gary Pasqua, who prosecuted the case with ADA Elizabeth Crawford.

On April 25, “he was pretty adamant about how he was innocent and he was going to fight (his conviction),” Pasqua said.

Tuesday, Donah simply pleaded guilty, the ADA said.

“He didn’t have any comment for the court.”

ACCOUNTABILITY

Donah was arrested on Feb. 5, 2013, first charged with two counts of first-degree rape involving two women.

He was indicted on a total 13 counts a few days later, including attempted rape of another woman. 

The latter case was tried first, in November 2013. Donah was acquitted on all three charges: first-degree attempted rape, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault, all felonies.

In February, Donah was absolved of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse, both felonies, in the case involving another ex-girlfriend. The jury found him culpable, however, for third-degree assault and two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, both misdemeanor charges.

His sentence is a year in jail for the assault and another year, to be served consecutively, for the strangulation charges. 

Jury selection for his third trial had been set for May 12; the charges were first-degree rape, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor unlawful imprisonment.

“Absolutely, I ‘m happy we were able to get the plea today,” Pasqua said on Tuesday.

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