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Criminal defense: New York student charged with hate crime

A student at prestigious Cornell University is facing a serious allegation after being accused of committing a hate crime against a black peer, according to the school's report. The 19-year-old student has been charged with assault following an alleged attack New York police believe was racially motivated. The student has retained criminal defense counsel, which has released a statement declaring the student's innocence. 

The details of the alleged attack and the events leading up to it are still unclear at this time, but it has been confirmed that an unnamed black student came forward in September about being assaulted by several people. The student claims his attackers, who he says counts the 19-year-old among them, shouted racial slurs at him prior to the assault. The student was allegedly assaulted outside his home near Cornell campus. 

Further details are unavailable, but the accused student's representation has said he had nothing to do with a physical altercation involving the black student. Defense counsel has claimed the physical evidence does not support what the victim said happened following the verbal altercation, though details have not yet been made public. The 19-year-old accused student faces charges of assault, criminal mischief and aggravated harassment. 

Criminal charges of this type can have long-lasting implications for a young person, particularly one attending an Ivy League school. If he is found guilty by New York authorities, his position at the school could be in jeopardy, as could future employment opportunities, as he would carry a criminal record forward with him. This is why his criminal defense representation will present any inconsistencies they find between the alleged victim's account of the incident and the physical evidence gathered by police. This should help them to build a strong case in the student's defense. 

Source: New York Post, "Cornell student charged in hate crime against black peer", Nov. 14, 2017

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