Day in Court

Judge refuses to release G'town hate crime suspects

”This is not a big deal because I know I’m innocent,” Saad Elarch (aka Saad Elorch) insisted to D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg at an Oct. 8 preliminary hearing regarding an assault on a gay man in Georgetown Oct. 3.

During that attack, around 3 a.m. along the C&O Canal footpath, two gay men were confronted, one of whom was struck in the face with a bottle. The attack is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department as a hate crime.

At the preliminary hearing, Weisberg ordered that Elarch, a native of Morocco, and Ruddad Abdulgader, originally from Sudan, be held without bond at least through Nov. 12, when they are scheduled to appear at a status hearing.

Elarch argued, unsuccessfully, that he will be threatened with lawsuits from clients of his glass business if he is held and unable to complete contract work.

Weisberg, covering for Judge Harold L. Cushenberry Jr., who will preside over a status hearing in this case on Nov. 12, heard testimony from Metropolitan Police Department Det. Kathy Jackson, who responded to the police call following the attack.

According to Jackson, a detective with MPD for seven years, the victim and his companion say Abdulgader and Elarch asked both men if they were gay. After they replied that they were, Elarch taunted them with homophobic epithets, including: ”If you were back in my country you would be stoned,” and, ”An asshole is for shitting not dicking.” Elarch then told Abdulgader to ”go ahead and hit him.”

Jackson said Abdulgader hit one of the victims in the face with a Grey Goose Vodka bottle and fled the scene. He was arrested near 34 and M Streets NW about an hour later. The assault left the victim unconscious, and he was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Jackson said Elarch allegedly stayed on the scene and continued to make threatening comments to the victim as he lay on the ground, unconscious. At that time, the victim’s companion phoned the police. Jackson reported that the companion said Elarch taunted his unconscious friend with, ”You’re fucked,” and, ”It’s good that happened to you, because you’re gay.”

Jackson testified that after Elarch was arrested, having remained at he scene, he attempted to kick out the windows of the Police cruiser into which he’d been placed, calling Police officers ”niggers,” and promising to ”kill them for messing up my time.”

At the hearing, it was revealed that both young men are facing unrelated charges in Virginia, where they both reside.

Judge Weisberg described Elarch as a ”classic aider and abettor,” and said that both men could face ”immigration consequences” as a result of the attack.

CORRECTION:

This story, as originally published online Sept. 9, 2008, misidentified the judge in this hearing as D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert I. Richter. Metro Weekly regrets the mistake.