A Queens prosecutor hammered away Wednesday at Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova’s testimony that she had no reason to have her orthodontist husband killed in front of their daughter in a Forest Hills playground more than a year ago.
In an unexpected move, Borukhova took the stand Tuesday at her murder trial and told her attorney, Stephen Scaring, that she did not hire her uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, to shoot Dr. Daniel Malakov on Oct. 28, 2007.
Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal questioned her truthfulness and brought out several pieces of information that he said showed her vengeful rationale. Leventhal replayed a videotape of the Oct. 22, 2007 custody transfer of Borukhova’s daughter Michelle to her father.
The custody switch was ordered by a Queens Family Court judge following a long and bitter divorce proceeding between the couple.
“Daniel wanted desperately to develop a relationship with Michelle, right?” Leventhal asked.
“I’m not sure what he wanted,” Borukhova, 35, responded.
Malakov, 34, who like his wife was an Uzbek immigrant, was shot twice in the chest outside the Annadale Playground as he was dropping off the 4-year-old girl to see her mother for a visit.
Borukhova, an internist, said she paid a private cameraman $3,500 to videotape the transfer so that she could use it in a future family court proceeding. Part of the footage showed Borukhova explaining to her daughter that she would be living with “Daniel.” The prosecutor questioned why she referred to her husband by his first name instead of dad or daddy.
“You didn’t think by calling her father Daniel, it would confuse her?” Leventhal asked.
“I don’t understand in what way,” Borukhova responded at the jury trial in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens .
The footage later showed Borukhova and Malakov engaging in a tug of war over Michelle outside Malakov’s home. The dentist tried to take the wailing girl by picking her up from her arms, but Borukhova pulled her from her legs.
Leventhal accused Borukhova of intensifying the trauma for her daughter by hiring the cameraman, but Borukhova said being videotaped by a stranger with a big camera did not bother the little girl. The prosecutor said he did not believe that and noted that several times she had ordered the cameraman to focus on the transfer.
“Where did you get your medical degree again?” he asked.
“Uzbekistan,” she answered
Prosecutors contend that Borukhova hired Mallayev, 51, to kill Malakov as payback for his gaining custody of Michelle. Mallayev, who did not take the stand, was identified as the gunman in court by a school teacher who was walking her dog near the park at the time of the murder.
Borukhova told detectives that she did not hear the gunshots or see the shooter despite being 10 feet away and reiterated her claim on the stand. Her testimony contradicted several eyewitnesses who heard the shots from farther distances and saw the shooter pull the trigger and run away.
Leventhal showed Borukhova her cell phone records that indicated she had nearly 70 phone conversations with Mallayev, her uncle, in the days leading up to the murder but only two following it. Borukhova said the calls involved Mallayev’s wife, who she said had blood pressure problems the week of the murder.
“On Oct. 29, did she have some miraculous recovery where her blood pressure went back to normal?” Leventhal asked.
“A lot of people stopped calling me,” she answered.
Mallayev visited Borukhova’s medical office a week before the murder and had an EKG examination done, according to Borukhova. Medical records dated the day of the examination indicated that Borukhova only entered Mallayev’s name in her records and not his height, weight, medical history or insurance information.
When Leventhal asked why Borukhova did not record the information, the internist said Mallayev complained about chest pains and did not want to call 911 for help.
“He did not want to go to the hospital,” she said.
This article has been corrected since publication: Borukhova testified that Mallayev visited her medical office for an EKG a week before the murder.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@t
©2009 Community News Group
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