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New trial begins for accused Fresh Meadows granny beater

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Jury selection began this week at Queens Supreme Court for the re-trial of Jack Rhodes, a Long Island City man accused of beating and robbing a 101-year-old Jamaica Estates woman in 2007, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office said.

This is the second trial for Rhodes, 46, who is charged with assault and burglary, after Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak declared a mistrial in December after a jury forewoman complained she had missed too much work during the month-long trial and needed to leave the proceeding to visit her mother.

Lasak will again be the judge for the case. Jury selection started Monday.

Assistant District Attorney Eugene Reibstein will prosecute the case.

Defense attorney Paul Montgomery, who had asked for a mistrial in the original case, had previously said he believed the trial was unfair because the court had “prejudged” Rhodes. Montgomery had complained that Lasak unfairly allowed the prosecution to bring forward more witnesses than the defense.

Assistant District Attorney Dianna Megias, who was the prosecutor in the first trial, blamed defense attorneys for intentionally prolonging the trial by asking for three days to prepare Rhodes to testify and then announcing Rhodes would not testify.

Rhodes allegedly attacked then-101-year-old Rose Morat, of Jamaica Estates, in March 2007, according to the DA.

The DA said Morat was leaving the elevator at her apartment building when Rhodes offered to open the front door for her. The defendant then allegedly repeatedly punched Morat on the left side of her face, causing her to fall to the ground, the DA said. Rhodes made off with her purse, which had $33 in it, according to Brown.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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