Alexa

Counseling ordered for man who hit ex-PR governor

Counseling ordered for man who hit ex-PR governor

A judge ordered anger-management classes Thursday for a businessman who punched a former governor of Puerto Rico, apparently because he criticized President George W. Bush.
Joseph Raymond Molina, who had faced up to eight years in prison, was also sentenced to five and a half years' probation and directed to take counseling for alcohol abuse.
Molina told the judge that he punched former Gov. Carlos Romero Barcelo last February in self-defense.
The two men, who are in their 70s, scuffled in a San Juan restaurant where they had been watching U.S. election primaries. At the trial, Romero said the fight broke out after he said in reference to Bush: "Cowards who gain power become cruel and abusive people."
Romero was wearing glasses and required surgery for a damaged retina and broken bones, according to his daughter.
A silent video recording from the restaurant shows Molina pointing a finger at Romero, who knocks his hand away before the two men stand and confront one another.
Molina was found guilty of assault in October. He sought a pardon from former Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila, who is awaiting trial for alleged campaign-finance irregularities that Romero says he was first to bring to the FBI's attention.
Acevedo denied the request, but he said before leaving office this month that he struggled to keep bitterness toward Romero from influencing his decision.
"I am resisting the temptation to give in to personal feelings toward a person who has not stopped at insults and lies to hurt me and my family," Acevedo said.
Molina told Superior Court Judge Abelardo Bermudez he is innocent and said he plans to appeal his conviction.