A one-legged Manhattan millionaire convicted of hitting a gorgeous, self-described "naked masseuse" in the head with his solid gold Rolex has been sent to jail for 60 days. Thomas Hartmann, a construction worker-turned-real estate magnate wept briefly at the defence table as he was sentenced.
His victim, Russian-born stripper Sophia Kandelaki, had testified last month that a flirtatious exchange with the drunken, limping man at an Upper East Side restaurant turned brutal after he gave her a rolled-up $100 bill so she could get a taxi - and she jokingly asked him for more. Prosecutors had successfully argued that despite Kandelaki's own unusual background - she described herself to jurors as a reality show hopeful, a stripper, a gunpoint-kidnapping survivor and an expert in "deep, inner tantric massage" - she was still the victim of an intentional assault.
Kandelaki, who has a prostitution arrest from 2005, needed 16 stitches to close the gaping gash to her forehead. "Whether she is a prostitute or an escort, or whether she paid her taxes or did not pay her taxes… regardless of all these things this man intentionally caused physical injury to her," said prosecutor Jennifer Sigall said at the sentencing. Sigall asked Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Mandelbaum to jail Hartmann for a full year, the maximum.
Defence lawyer Joseph Tacopina got that reduced to 60 days after arguing that Hartmann is actually a good, charitable businessman who was being asked for money by a laughable tax crook. "She still doesn't pay taxes on many of her ... employment ventures, if you will," Tacopina argued. "I never meant to hit her," Hartmann told the judge. He has insisted that he merely lost his balance on his prosthetic leg when Kandelaki reached for his wad of cash. He must turn himself in to begin his sentence this morning.