What is a sweetheart plea deal? Manhattan DA offers new bargain to anti-Semitic attacker Waseem Awawdeh

Waseem Awawdeh offered a plea deal in anti-semitic attack (Image via Brooke Goldstein/Twitter)
Waseem Awawdeh offered a plea deal in anti-semitic attack (Image via Brooke Goldstein/Twitter)

Waseem Awawdeh, the suspect charged in the brutal anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish man in New York in 2021, was offered a sweetheart plea deal with a reduced six-month sentence.

A sweetheart plea deal is an agreement offered by the prosecutor to the accused where the latter agrees to provide vital information in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office offered a sweetheart plea deal to Waseem Awawdeh, 21, who was arrested in an unprovoked attack against a Jewish man named Joseph Borgen near a pro-Israel rally in May 2021.

Awawdeh was reportedly part of a gang that viciously attacked Borgen, an Upper East Side accountant, who was wearing a yarmulke as he walked to a pro-Israel rally near Broadway and West 49th Street. The gang reportedly pepper sprayed and beat Borgen while hurling racial slurs at him.

The anti-Semitic attack, which reportedly carried a sentence of several years, was reduced to months after the Manhattan DA offered a plea deal to the suspect, stating that the accused did not have any prior convictions.


Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defends the plea deal offered to Waseem Awawdeh

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg defended his office after they offered a sweetheart plea deal to anti-Semitic attacker Waseem Awawdeh. Braggs said that Awawdeh, while present during the crime, did not initiate the attack. The Manhattan DA stated that the suspect was only charged with beating the victim with his crutch and was not found guilty of pepper spraying or pummeling Borgen to the ground.

Awawdeh was charged with a hate crime alongside Mahmoud Musa, Faisal Elezzi, and Mohammed Othman, for attacking the Jewish accountant on his way to the pro-Israel rally on May 20, 2021.

At his arraignment, prosecutors said, Awawdeh told jailers that, if given the opportunity, he would do it again.

“If I could do it again, I would do it again. I have no problem doing it again.”

Awawdeh was granted bail at the arraignment after the judge determined that he did not pose a flight risk.


Waseem Awawdeh’s lawyer, Peter Marc Frankel, confirmed the DA’s plea deal offer, adding that his client, who is currently out on bail, is considering the terms offered by the DA’s office.

In a statement to the New York Post, Frankel said:

“The six-month plea deal has been offered at this point. No decisions have been made by [my] client on what to do. We have been in contact with the DA for over a year about this case."

Other men arrested in connection with the attack have not been offered any plea deal. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

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