By Ivan Pereira
The man accused of gunning down a Forest Hills dentist in front of his daughter attempted to assault the Uzbek immigrant a day before he was shot, according to a police report revealed Wednesday.
Hours before jury selection began for the murder and conspiracy trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova and her distant uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, the prosecution and defense argued over the validity of a NYPD report in a witness claimed he saw Mallayev, 51, and another unidentified man physically confront Borukhova’s estranged husband, Dr. Daniel Malakov. The incident took place at Malakov’s Forest Hills dental office on Oct. 27, 2007. Prosecutors contend Borukhova, 35, hired her relative to kill Malakov the next morning as payback for gaining custody of their then 4âˆ’yearâˆ’old daughter Michelle.
Mallayev’s attorney, Michael Siff, said the report was questionable because the witness only identified Mallayev by name after his arrest in November 2007.
“He first describes a individual with a height, weight etc…and then three weeks later says it was my client,” Siff said.
Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal said the unidentified witness was reliable when he described the event during the initial police investigation into the encounter and later talked to authorities.
“He identified Mallayev as one of the men in that scuffle,” he said.
The report describes two Russian men confronting Malakov, 34, who was from Uzbekistan like his estranged wife, and at one point one of the men attempting to force his way into the office. The witness claimed that one of the men appeared to be a “lookout” and to have his hand in his trench coat pocket in a way that indicated he had a gun, according to the report.
Borukhova’s attorney, Stephen Scarring, was granted permission by State Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy to see the report Tuesday after the defense attorney had learned that the DA’s office was not going to admit the report into evidence. Although he did not know that Mallayev was identified in the report before he made the request, Scarring said he would consider admitting the report during the trial.
If convicted, Mallayev and Borukhova face up to life in prison without parole.
On Oct. 28, 2007, Malakov was shot twice in the chest as he was dropping off his daughter in the Annadale Playground in Forest Hills to meet Borukhova. The girl was placed in Malakov’s custody 10 days before his murder.
Mallayev was charged with murder after investigators found his fingerprints on a makeshift silencer left at the playground by the shooter, prosecutors said.
When arrested, Mallayev, who lived in suburban Atlanta, initially denied being in Queens at the time of the shooting, but changed his story when detectives said they had records indicating he made cell phone calls near the crime scene.
Borukhova was arrested last February and charged along with her uncle with firstâˆ’degree murder and conspiracy after investigators found that there had been more than 90 phone calls between her and her uncle in the weeks leading up to the murder but only two following it.
A few weeks before the shooting Borukhova’s sisters visited state Sen. Diane Savino (Dâˆ’Staten Island) and asked her suspicious questions related to the custody dispute.
“What if something happens? What if he can’t take care of her?” the senator recalled the sisters asking her. “What if she disappears?”
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by eâˆ’mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 146.