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Attorneys make closing arguments in CO's sexual abuse trial

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Thursday marked Day Four of the trial of Donald Hughes, 50, of Floyd, a long-time Corrections Officer accused of sexually abusing two young girls.

By mid-day on Thursday, testimony had wrapped up in the case, including Hughes himself, who finished telling his side of the case shortly before 11 a.m. Attorneys made their closing arguments to the jury as the morning turned to afternoon, and after, Oneida County Court Judge Barry Donalty will instruct the jury on the law as it pertains to this case. Following that, deliberations will begin.

Among the things the jury will have to consider, is which version of the Hughes' recollections of what happened is the truth. The jury watched Donald Hughes confess to investigators in a videotape that was shown in court on Wednesday. However, while on the witness stand on Thursday morning, Hughes said all of the admissions he made in his signed statement as well as that videotape interview were lies.

The prosecution asked Hughes while on the stand if his earlier admissions were lies, to which Hughes said "yes." Hughes said he is diabetic and hadn't eaten when he was being questioned by investigators, therefore wasn't feeling well and just wanted to get out of the interrogation room.

While on the stand, Hughes then denied all five crimes of which he is accused when his attorney asked him about them. Hughes then admitted to the prosecution, though, that skipping meals isn't unusual for him, that he doesn't normally eat breakfast or lunch anyway.

Earlier in the week, the jury heard from the two young victims in the case, now ages 12 and 10. As for what motive they could have for possibly lying about the accusations, the prosecution asked Hughes while he was on the stand if he had yelled at the girls or had gotten into an argument with them around the time their accusations arose. Hughes said "no."

Hughes, who has been a Corrections Officer at Mohawk Correctional Facility for more than two decades, has been suspended from his position pending the outcome of the case.

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