GENEVA — The case against a city police officer accused of choking a woman may be headed for a trial.
During a brief appearance Monday by Jack Montesanto in Geneva City Court, Judge Jackie Sisson Sherry scheduled a trial to start March 16 with jury selection. Testimony would begin the next day.
Sisson Sherry is a Canandaigua City Court judge assigned to the case.
Montesanto, 40, faces a misdemeanor charge of criminal obstruction of breathing. He was arrested by the Ontario County sheriff’s office over an alleged incident during the early-morning hours of July 23, when Montesanto and at least one other city police officer responded to a Main Street apartment building for a noise complaint.
The woman was charged with a noise violation and disorderly conduct. She was taken to the Public Safety Building, and Montesanto is accused of choking her while she was being booked.
According to the criminal complaint against Montesanto, the woman lost consciousness temporarily.
Geneva Police Chief Mike Passalacqua learned of the alleged incident two days later and suspended Montesanto with pay. Passalacqua later placed Montesanto on unpaid suspension.
During Montesanto’s last court appearance in December, Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride — who is prosecuting the case — said the DA’s office is recommending three years of probation, but no jail time, if Montesanto pleads guilty.
MacBride said the offer was made after talking to the alleged victim and District Attorney Jim Ritts.
After court Monday, MacBride said he was not surprised that Montesanto and his attorney, Jon Getz, plan on taking the case to trial. He declined to comment on the case beyond that.
Getz said at this time, he and Montesanto intend on going to trial. Getz claimed that video from police body cameras will refute certain information, including that the alleged victim was unconscious.
“Unfortunately, that information has gotten out there,” Getz said, adding that the body cam footage — which will be part of the trial — is lengthy. “There is some information out there that what the evidence (body cam footage) shows is not true, and the context of all the video needs to be seen.”
Montesanto has been free on his own recognizance since his arrest. He will be back in court Feb. 28 for argument of pretrial motions.