RAHWAY—Councilman Bobby Akbar pleaded guilty in Clark municipal court to disturbing the peace, thus avoiding a domestic violence trial on assault charges involving a woman who is not his wife.
Akbar, 32, of 692 East Grand Avenue, was arrested on Feb. 26 by police who witnessed a woman suffer injuries as the councilman drove away from what appeared to be an altercation in the school parking lot.
Authorities have not identified the victim, who is a teacher at Franklin Elementary School, where Akbar works. Officials also refused to release other routine information because state law precludes such disclosures in domestic violence situations.
Akbar is married and he has two children, but authorities refused to explain why the matter falls under the domestic violence statute.
In an interview conducted last month, Akbar denied that he had a sexual relationship with the victim and claimed there was no argument or fight
According to Akbar, the victim was attempting to get his attention while he drove away and she fell by accident, without any preceding altercation or argument.
Akbar declared that he wanted to facts to be known, but since his guilty plea there has not been any statement.
In response to defense attorney Michael B. Campagna’s suggestion that Akbar was vindicated, Clark Prosecutor Jon-Henry Barr told reporters that the defendant, “created a very dangerous condition by peeling out of that lot.”
“In open public court, he pled guilty to violating the city ordinance,” said Barr. “There was inappropriate behavior on the part of the defendant.”
Akbar originally faced charges of simple assault, but the matter was downgraded to disturbing the peace, a city ordinance that amounts to making noise while driving in an unsafe manner.
Judge Antonio Inacio required Akbar to pay a $500 fine, plus court costs, while a simple assault conviction would have carried a maximum fine of $1,000.
Barr said police and the victim were satisfied with the plea bargain, which resulted in a fine that was half of the maximum allowed under the simple assault charge.
City officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said police officers were warned that leaks in the case would be treated severely.
Akbar expressed doubt that the incident would affect his status as an elected official or as an instructor at Franklin Elementary School, where he has been employed as a fifth-grade teacher since 2003.
A 1994 graduate of Rahway High School, Akbar starred for the Indians football team under the name of Bobby McClain. The Democrat was elected to represent the First Ward on the City Council in November.
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