BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Prosecutors tried to convince Judge John Michalski Friday that Jeffrey Basil is dangerous and should be kept in custody, but Basil’s attorney was able to convince the judge to drastically reduce his client’s bail.
Basil, the manager of Mollys Pub, is accused of first-degree assault and has a long history of criminal activity, beginning when he was 16-years-old at Maryvale High School, prosecutor Chris Belling told Judge Michalski.
“On June 11, 1996, he tried to throw another student out the window of the high school,” Belling said.
Basil is accused of pushing Air National Guardsman Bill Sager down the steps of Mollys Pub on May 11, causing critical injuries and leaving Sager in the ICU.
Off-duty Buffalo Police Officer Adam O’Shei, who had been working security at the bar, has testified he watched the push happen.
O’Shei said, “It was a full two-handed extension.”
Belling asked, “And did you witness Mr. Sager do anything menacing or threatening to Mr. Basil before he was launched off those stairs?”
“No I didn’t,” replied O’Shei.
Defense Attorney Joel Daniels says O’Shei had also told a police captain an observation he didn’t give in court.
“Officer O’Shei told him that Mr. Sager was very intoxicated and was starting trouble in the bar,” Daniels said.
Basil’s attorney told the judge his client’s charge should be reduced to misdemeanor assault, and that prosecutors can’t prove Basil showed a depraved indifference to Sager’s life.
But Belling argued Basil’s criminal history speaks for itself when it comes to the question of bail.
“Jeffrey Basil, your honor, is a scourge. He’s a dangerous person.”
Judge Michalski sided with the defense, reducing Basil’s bail from $250,000 to $35,000. Basil posted bail and was released.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita was not happy with the judge’s decision.
He said, “There were more facts brought out on public record in a public courtroom that I actually thought made the case more compelling and justified not a decrease in the bail, but an increase in the bail.”
As a condition of bail, Basil must stay away from alcohol and bars, stay away from Sager’s family and any witnesses, and not leave Erie County.
In another major development, the DA says he will try to compel the other off-duty police officer at Mollys Pub, Robert Eloff, to give a DNA sample, to see if he had any role in trying to throw away video surveillance that recorded events that night.
Sager, who had just gotten engaged over the summer, remains in a coma. His friends and loved ones will show their support for him Friday night at a prayer vigil at 7 p.m. at the Silver Creek High School football field. Organizers will sell “Pray for Bill” bracelets.