QUEENSBURY — The man accused of robbing a Lake George bank last month has asked a judge to dismiss the charges, and he has penned an angry letter claiming he was deprived of his right to testify before the grand jury that indicted him.
Nelson L. Gouge Sr., 45, asked Warren County Judge John Hall to dismiss the felony and robbery counts against him, arguing that he should have been allowed to testify when the grand jury heard his case.
Gouge was charged late last month for the Jan. 12 holdup at the Trustco Bank branch on Route 9L, and he has pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Warren County Court.
In a handwritten letter in which each word was capitalized, he argued that his lawyers with the Warren County Public Defender’s Office did not inform him of the grand jury proceeding, so the indictment should be tossed out.
“I wanted to be present at the grand jury!” he wrote.
He added a phrase that the “rule of security has been broken.”
Gouge was represented by the Warren County Public Defender’s Office once he was charged in the robbery.
But the assistant public defender who represented Gouge at his arraignment, Lynn Pucciarelli, wrote in a response to Gouge’s letter to the court that her office could not legally advise him on the case when he hadn’t been charged yet.
The Public Defender’s Office also represented Gouge in an unrelated domestic violence case, for which he was arrested hours after the bank robbery as his alleged role in the holdup was being investigated. During a court appearance in that case, Gouge mentioned a Post-Star article that recounted his role as a person of interest in the bank robbery.
“Our office was not assigned to represent Mr. Gouge on the robbery charge until he was arraigned on indictment 2018-020-I on Jan. 24, 2018,” Pucciarelli wrote.
Warren County Judge John Hall scheduled a hearing to discuss the issue on Feb. 14. Gouge remains in Warren County Jail for lack of bail.
Gouge was indicted based on surveillance photos that showed much of the robbers’ face and the fact that police recovered from his possessions marked bills that had been stolen from the bank.
Police believe he is the man who handed a bank teller a note threatening to use a gun before he made off with several thousand dollars.