One of today’s biggest stories on Wall Street was the news that Morgan Stanley’s co-head of fixed income capital markets has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for allegedly threatening and stabbing a taxi driver.The incident occurred in December, after a fare dispute following a ride from the city to the banker’s Connecticut home.
We spoke with the defendant William Bryan Jennings’ attorney, Eugene Riccio, to get his side of the story.
“Our interpretation was this was an abduction — a criminal abduction,” Eugene Riccio said in a telephone interview on Friday.
“He should be the victim in the case and not the defendant. We feel that his arrest was wrongful,” Riccio said.
Riccio said he asked the police to press charges against the cab driver, but those charges were never brought forth.
According to Riccio, Jennings took a cab from the city to his Darien, Connecticut home on Knollwood Lane.
Riccio said when the cab arrived at his home, the driver said the fare was $294, which Riccio described as “grossly overcharged.”
He said Jennings offered to pay what he thought was a reasonable cab fare of $160, but the driver wouldn’t accept that offer. According to the attorney, the cab driver announced he was going to take Jennings back to the city.
Jennings attempted to get out of the cab, but was unsuccessful. By the time he was able to get the door open the car was moving too fast, the attorney said, adding that the cab driver ran through stop signs and red lights.
“The cab driver continued to drive in a reckless fashion, not observing lights, proceeding toward the Connecticut Turnpike,” Riccio said. “My client did have a penknife, which he did take out. He kept asking this guy ‘Stop stop stop’ trying to get the cab driver to stop.”
That’s the when the driver attempted to grab the knife.
“Mr. Jennings was fearful for his safety,” Riccio said. “He fled and did not contact the police. He did not want the cabbie to find out where he lived.”
Riccio said Jennings voluntarily came forward, identified himself as the man in the incident, and then cooperated with authorities. He added that the accusations about racial slurs, which led to the hate-crime charge, were not true.
We asked Lt. Ronald Bussell in Darien’s Police Department’s detective division about the incident. Lt. Bussell said Jennings did not come forward until two weeks after it happened.