Ex-county legislator Chris Allen, in Saugerties Village Court Monday night, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass stemming from an October incident where he allegedly got into a shouting match with resident Paul Fowler and refused to leave Fowler’s domicile.
Prosecutors offered Allen the option of pleading guilty and accepting a fine between $500 and $1,000 with no jail time. If he’s convicted at trial, Allen could face up to a year in county jail.
Following court proceedings, Allen went voluntarily to Saugerties Police Department headquarters to get his fingerprints and mugshot taken.
Allen will return to village court with his public defender, Michael Catalinotto, on Jan. 6 after a discovery period, during which both the defense attorney and prosecutor can gather evidence. Then, according to prosecutor John McGovern, if Allen does not accept a plea deal, he will go to trial.
In court, Allen carried a copy of the Saugerties Times in the courtroom to show Catalinotto before he approached the bench.
According to the made-under-oath complaint accusing Allen of criminal trespass, lodged by Saugerties resident Paul Fowler, at about 7:58 p.m. on Oct. 30, Allen entered Fowler’s residence through an unlocked door and verbally harassed him and his girlfriend, Gail Ferris, for approximately five minutes. Fowler alleges that he asked Allen to leave the residence four times before Allen complied. Allen in interviews with local media has denied these allegations, saying he never entered Fowler’s home.
Assistant District Attorney McGovern requested that an order of protection be issued against Allen on Fowler’s behalf, but Village Justice Robert Rightmyer said that such a measure was unnecessary.
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Fowler. The case is a he-said he-said,” said McGovern after the proceedings. “[Allen] was insinuating that the complainant was lying. It’s really who’s more credible to the court.”
Fowler said Monday he had begun amassing evidence supporting his allegation that Allen had indeed entered his home, triggering the criminal trespass charge.