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Lawyer For Plastic Surgeon Arrested For Arsenal Of Weapons Says Doctor Presented No Danger

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The lawyer for a plastic surgeon busted with an arsenal of weapons says the case against him is bogus.

Dr. Matthew Bonanno is still behind bars, more than a week after his arrest, and his lawyer says that's putting the doctor's life in danger.

(Credit: CBS2)

Despite the dire circumstances, Bonanno seemed to have a slight smile as he left Tuckahoe Village court Tuesday, CBS2's Tony Aiello reports.

Former Bronx District Attorney Paul Gentile is Bonanno's defense attorney.

"He should be out. He should be working, healing people that need to be healed," Gentile said.

The doctor faces 41 felony counts for having an illegal arsenal of assault rifles and other weapons in his car and at his home in Great Neck, Long Island.

Neighbors there say Bonanno was a quiet presence.

"It's just very scary that someone in your building would have all those weapons, and I have small children," one neighbor said.

Tuckahoe police say Bonanno was at a bar with a friend on Aug. 12. The doctor allegedly showed him a gun and made a threat.

"The threat was that he was going to kill his wife and her family," Tuckahoe Police Chief John Costanzo said.

Bonanno's attorney claims the man who reported the threat is known to police to be unreliable.

"Neither the wife nor the family have brought any charges, and they don't want to bring charges. They want him to continue working as a surgeon providing support for his daughter," Gentile said.

Tuckahoe Weapon Cache/Matthew Bonanno
(Photo: Tuckahoe Police Department)

Gentile described Bonanno as a weapons collector. Police say many of the weapons he had are banned and those that aren't are unlicensed.

"I wouldn't have to think too far back as to what these types of weapons are and the type of damage they could do," Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said.

"Licensed or unlicensed, there was no danger presented whatsoever, none, to anyone," Gentile said.

The lawyer says Bonanno is being portrayed as a potential domestic terrorist and that's jeopardizing his safety at the lock-up, where he's held in protective custody.

He also argued that the state is improperly holding the doctor without bail longer than the law allows. A judge disagreed, however, and Bonanno was returned to the county jail.

A grand jury is expected to meet this week at the county courthouse to consider indictments.

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