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Judge accuses Fort Lee man in gun case of keeping trial file from lawyer

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CVP: A judge in Hackensack today accused a Fort Lee towing operator of keeping the case file from his attorney in a deliberate attempt to delay his trial on charges of pointing a gun at his longtime girlfriend and threatening to kill her.

Jury selection nonetheless will begin tomorrow, Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi told 45-year-old Konstandin “Dean” Bitzas.

Bitzas already had some in the case scratching their heads.

Although he was prohibited from having guns because of a previous firearms conviction, authorities seized several weapons after responding to his girlfriend’s 911 call.

Konstandin “Dean” Bitzas (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

These include:

  • a Llama .357 revolver;
  • a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun;
  • a Colt Police Positive;
  • a Savage 67H 12-gauge shotgun;
  • a Norinco SKS.

As a result, he faces eight weapons charges — including two of possessing large-capacity ammo magazines — in addition to the domestic violence charges of threatening to kill the woman and pointing the gun at her under circumstances “manifesting extreme indifference to human life.”

Bitzas has refused to consider a plea deal because he belives he has an “inviolate Second Amendement right to bear arms,” said his attorney, Ron Bar-Nadav. “He is a strong believer in the Constitution.”

Today it came to light that Bitzas borrowed the case file for the trial from Bar-Nadav three weeks ago — ostensibly to make a copy — but never returned it.

The lawyer, in turn, said he’d have trouble preparing for the trial without it.

“I’ve never heard of stealing a file from your attorney,” DeAvila-Silebi said. “But we can’t have the defendants running the asylum.”

She told Bitzas to fetch the file, adding that his trial “starts tomorrow regardless.”

Bitzas insisted that he didn’t steal it, but, rather took it to another attorney.

“If you have a new attorney, that attorney won’t be allowed on the case unless he’s ready to hit the ground running tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.,” the judge said. “There won’t be a trial delay.

“If you aren’t here, the trial will go on regardless.”

Bitzas returned the file later in the day.

Bar-Nadav, meanwhile, said he would request a psychiatric evaluation.

DeAvila-Silebi scheduled motions and jury selection to begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Vered Adoni, defense attorney Ron Bar-Nadav, Konstandin “Dean” Bitzas (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

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