ALBANY - A jury convicted a former aide to state Sen. Bill Larkin Jr. of misdemeanor assault charges Thursday for whipping his ex-girlfriend with an electric cord and slapping her in the face, but acquitted him of a felony strangulation charge.
Robert Nickol, the 32-year-old former counsel for Larkin, R-Cornwall-on-Hudson, faces the possibility of two years in Albany County jail for his convictions on two counts of third-degree assault. The misdemeanors each carry a maximum sentence of up to a year. While those sentences could run consecutively, the judge has the latitude to impose less time or simple probation.
The acquittal on the felony charge means that Nickol, an Albany Law School graduate admitted to the bar in 2013, will not automatically lose his law license.
Albany County Judge Peter Lynch, who presided over Nickol's four-day trial, will sentence him on Nov. 29.
The couple met in the early fall of 2013, and within a month were living together in Nickol's one-bedroom apartment on North Main Avenue in Albany.
The jury, which began deliberating the case late Wednesday afternoon, delivered its verdict early Thursday. The panel acquitted Nickol of his first alleged attack on the woman, which she said happened on June 29, 2015, in their apartment. She said after they argued, Nickol pushed her down, shoved a beer-soaked towel over her face, sat on her and choked her into brief unconsciousness.
She testified when she awoke, Nickol said words to the effect of, "Why did you make me do that? I told you to be quiet."
While he was acquitted on that charge - a felony that could have brought a seven-year sentence - but jurors found he was guilty of a charge related to a March 2017 incident in which Nickol slapped the victim across her face, leading her to seek treatment at Albany Medical Center Hospital. The woman testified that her jaw was still in severe pain for a few weeks.
Jurors also concluded Nickol whipped the woman in the leg with a television cable cord during a late-night encounter in September 2017.
That incident led to his arrest. Nickol remained on Larkin's Senate payroll for months, resigning only after his indictment four months later.