SAN FRANCISCO, July 22 (UPI) -- A jury in San Francisco convicted a New Jersey man in the assault on Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel last year in a San Francisco hotel.
Eric Hunt of Vernon, N.J., was convicted on a felony charge of false imprisonment with a hate crime allegation, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. He was also found guilty on two misdemeanor charges in the Feb. 1, 2007, incident, and innocent on several other charges.
Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Boston University professor, survived Nazi death camps during World War II and wrote about it in his book "Night."
"Crimes motivated by hate are among the most reprehensible of offenses," District Attorney Kamala Harris said in a statement after Monday's verdict. "This defendant has been made to answer for an unwarranted and biased attack on a man who has dedicated his life to peace."
Hunt pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for part of the trial, said defense attorney, John Runfola, adding that Hunt thought at the time of the attack the Holocaust was a lie. Hunt was hospitalized in a New Jersey mental health facility when arrested, the attorney said.
Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 18. The maximum penalty for false imprisonment with a hate crime allegation is three years in a state prison, the district attorney said, while the two misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of six months each in a county jail.
Runfola said the defense team will seek probation with credit for time served and mental health provisions.