aleksander vacaj
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aleksander vacaj

New York City : NY : USA | Mar 31, 2009 at 3:41 PM PDT
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Aleksander Vacaj, accused of having girlfriend's face slashed, to be cleared of all criminal charges

BY Jose Martinez
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, March 31st 2009, 4:00 AM

An Albanian national accused of hiring two thugs to slash his ex-girlfriend's face will be cleared of all criminal charges after the woman Monday refused to testify against him.

Aleksander Vacaj hugged friends and family members as he walked out of a Manhattan courtroom when his ex, Artenida Gjeli, clammed up on the witness stand.

"I'm very happy that this is over," Vacaj said. "I never had anything to do with anything, and justice was done."

Felony coercion and attempted coercion charges against Vacaj were dismissed, and a remaining charge of aggravated harassment will be tossed next month as prosecutors said they had no case without Gjeli's cooperation.

"I am doing this on my own," Gjeli said after taking the Fifth Amendment.

Gjeli's face was slashed with a razor and a broken bottle at a Chinatown condo last May by two men who authorities said were hired by her spurned ex-boyfriend in search of payback.

An off-duty detective shot the attackers, killing one of them.

Vacaj served more than two months in jail, accused of orchestrating the attack and placing threatening calls to his ex.

"She was calling my client more than my client was calling her," said defense lawyer Alexei Schacht.

The case against Vacaj was weakened when Schacht accused Gjeli of being a stalker and a criminal who had also threatened witnesses set to testify against Vacaj in a 2006 gun possession case.

"Once our investigation revealed Artenida Gjeli's numerous instances of perjury, immigration fraud and drug dealing, she decided she would rather not testify than be confronted in open court with who she really is," Schacht said.

The couple had dated for several years.

jmartinez@edit.nydailynews.com

anja31 is based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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