Buttafucco given maximum sentence



MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP)—The saga that began in a Long Island auto body shop ended Monday in a courtroom where a handcuffed, smirking Joey Buttafuoco was led away to the same fate that befell his former lover, Amy Fisher—jail time.

Buttafuoco’s expression never changed as he was sentenced to the maximum six months in prison, $5,000 fine and five years’ probation for statutory rape.

Only minutes earlier, Fisher, now 19, faced Buttafuoco for the first time since she shot his wife, Mary Jo, on May 19, 1992. In a nervous, barely audible voice, she spoke of the ill-fated relationship that began ‘‘when I was a 16-year-old with braces.’‘

‘‘This man took me to expensive restaurants and cheap motels,’‘ she said softly. ‘‘I am sad to say that he taught me well. He taught me to disrespect myself and to deceive my parents. Unfortunately, these were lessons that I learned too quickly.’‘

The midday drama provided a certain closure to the case that has provided grist for countless talk-show jokes and three made-for-TV movies.

A year ago in the same courthouse, Fisher had been sentenced to five to 15 years for shooting Mrs. Buttafuoco, who still has a bullet lodged next to her brain.

Then, Buttafuoco wanted justice. On Monday, it was Amy’s turn.

As hordes of reporters and camera crews—including one from ‘‘Comedy Central’‘—swarmed the courthouse, Buttafuoco swaggered into the courtroom, wearing a maroon suit and lizard-skin cowboy boots.

He immediately searched for Fisher. But her attorney at first blocked his view of the teen-ager, whose mane of loose hair was neatly pinned back, making her look like a schoolgirl.

Buttafuoco, 37, stood ramrod straight, glaring at Fisher as she spoke.

Later, in a written response to questions submitted by The Associated Press, Fisher said: ‘‘I felt physically intimidated by him in the courtroom.

‘‘I kept waiting for him to say, ‘I’m sorry’ to me for what happened and he didn’t.‘’

In a jail-house interview with the television show ‘‘A Current Affair,’‘ Buttafuoco called his relationship with Fisher ‘‘strictly lustful sex.’‘

‘‘She’s no sweet little girl. She’s a calculated attempted murderess,’‘ he said in the interview to be broadcast Tuesday.

‘‘I’m just totally blown away. I can’t believe I’m in here,’‘ Buttafuoco said.

Mrs. Buttafuoco told the show she still refuses to believe her husband had an affair with Fisher.

‘‘I choose to believe, based on the person that I know and the person that I live with and … the person whose bed I share, that he did not,’‘ she said.

Addressing the court, Fisher spoke of the ‘‘dark and difficult time’‘ in her life that began when she met Buttafuoco in his auto body shop.

‘‘Your honor,’‘ she mumbled, her head bowed and eyes never leaving her written statement, ‘‘when this relationship began … I was a 16-year-old teen-ager shown a world that I was not ready for, a world of elaborate spending and fast boats.’‘

She apologized again to Mrs. Buttafuoco and her family. But she added:

‘‘I know with all my heart that if Mr. Buttafuoco had permitted me to cross the bridge between adolescence and adulthood unmolested, I would not be where I am today.’‘

Fisher said she was not in court to seek revenge. Rather, she said, she was there to ask the court to give Buttafuoco a sentence that would dissuade ‘‘other teen-agers who might be tempted by the glitter of the likes of a Joey Buttafuoco.’‘

Buttafuoco’s attorney, Dominic Barbara, argued for probation instead of jail, saying his client ‘‘is a devoted and loving father. A devoted and loving son.’‘

Nassau County Court Judge Jack Mackston delivered the sentence without comment. In a final slap, he told Buttafuoco he also had to pay a $5 ‘‘victim’s assistance’‘ fee.

Buttafuoco could be released from the county jail in four months.

Mrs. Buttafuoco, 38, who has steadfastly stood by her husband throughout the chain of events, did not attend the sentencing.

But prosecutor Fred Klein spoke of her outside court: ‘‘She was victimized twice. Once by Amy Fisher and once by her husband.

‘‘With Joey Buttafuoco going to jail,’‘ Klein said without a trace of irony, ‘‘we can finally put this case to bed.’‘