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In Court…

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” An 18-year-old Moroccan man who pulled a knife in a racially charged confrontation at the Art Tee Gallery, a T-shirt shop on Aspen’s Hyman Avenue mall, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor menacing Monday.

Karim Ojoudar, 18, was granted a two-year deferred sentence as part of a plea deal reached in the case with prosecutor Gail Nichols.

According to Nichols, Ojoudar was walking past the Art Tee Gallery on Dec. 11 and an employee, Michael Capshaw Taylor, was standing in the door. There was some kind of verbal altercation, and Ojoudar pulled out a knife.

“I understand what I did was wrong,” Ojoudar said, during the sentencing. “I should never have pulled out a weapon.”

Ojoudar’s lawyer, Mark Rubenstein, claimed Taylor made a racial remark to Ojoudar that initiated the altercation. At the time, however, Taylor said it was Ojoudar who first made a racial slur.

“You did make a mistake,” District Judge James Boyd said. “No matter the verbal provocation, to introduce a weapon is a danger to you and to the community.”

Boyd issued a no-contact order so Ojoudar cannot talk with Taylor or go to the Art Tee Gallery. Ojoudar will return to his family in Texas, where his mother is studying law, according to Rubenstein.

ASPEN ” Fraud suspect Peter Frommer, 31, was denied his passport Monday to travel to South America for “business purposes.”

Frommer pleaded not guilty Monday in Pitkin County District Court to 33 fraud-related felonies, setting the stage for a trial in April.

“[Frommer] has substantial business opportunities overseas,” defense attorney Garth McCarty said. “The court should feel secure. … He simply has proven himself not to be a flight risk in this case.”

Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols and District Judge James Boyd disagreed, however, and Boyd would not give Frommer’s passport back.

Boyd did, however, leave the door open for the possibility of international travel if Frommer can provide solid documentation of business opportunities.

“The biggest issue is confidence that the defendant will return,” Boyd said. “I’m willing to consider something more detailed.”

Frommer, 31, is accused of writing bad checks from $1,700 for lingerie, $6,000 for baby-sitting and $19,000 for rent, a police affidavit alleges. One person was fleeced out of $35,000, according to police.

The trial is scheduled for seven days in May.

ASPEN ” A woman with a lengthy criminal record who barely dodged a prison sentence for writing bad checks last summer skipped town Monday and had two warrants issued for her arrest.

Emily Wodiuk, 23, faced two to six years in prison if she had been convicted of violating her parole and if the sweetheart plea deal had been revoked.

When Wodiuk was sentenced in July, prosecutor Gail Nichols argued that Wodiuk should have been sentenced to four years in prison because of her previous convictions and problems while on probation.

In January, Nichols listed numerous conditions that Wodiuk allegedly had violated since August, including using alcohol and drugs, missing probation appointments and not finding a job.

On Monday, Nichols said Wodiuk had been informed of a warrant for her arrest out of Arapahoe County, but she never showed up.

“She said she would turn herself in that night but she didn’t,” Nichols said.

District Judge James Boyd forfeited Wodiuk’s bond and issued two bench warrants, one for each case against Wodiuk in Pitkin County.


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