Defense pounces on Islip town dump revelation
In a possible blow to the prosecution, Robert Clemente Park - the epicenter of alleged illegal dumping by a family-owned business - was a former town landfill and community dump until the late 1960s.
The revelation was made during the opening statements at the trial of Thomas Datre Sr. and Thomas Datre Jr. Both are accused of dumping toxic chemicals at four sites, including Roberto Clemente Park and a veterans housing complex in Hauppauge.
According to Newsday, a town document shows the park was used by the town's Highway Department to dump debris and was also used by residents as a local dump until the late 1960s.
Defense attorneys say that fact damages the credibility of the prosecution's case.
"The claim is that there was scientific testing done with proper scientific methods," says attorney Kevin Kearon. "Our criticism is that all that testing was done without even acknowledging that the town dump was underneath the soccer fields."
Environmentalists argue that the defense is trying to spin the story. They say anything that previously happened at the park site has no bearing on the current court case.
The Town of Islip issued a statement saying it will not comment during the course of the trial.