Called No Momma’s Boy, the memoir that resulted from that process is a gripping account of an adult man’s reconciliation with his past. After a couple of publishers’ rejections, he self-published it in 2007, and since then he and his wife have traveled the country talking about overcoming adversity and selling the book. “It is important that I should tell you this: I forgave her,” Dominic told me in the summer of 2008, speaking of his mother. He said the book had brought forgiveness into his marriage as well. “It’s made our communication better,” Marilyn agreed enthusiastically. “The book has brought us closer together. Because we’re always together now. I mean, constantly!”
But just a number of weeks after that interview, they both admit, his cycle of explosive rage resumed.
The couple have weirdly different explanations for the troubles. But both are euphemistic, avoiding the fact of the violence as much as possible. “The issue that Dominic and I have—I guess, more important, my issue—is lack of communication,” she says. “Communication is his business. So he’s nonstop. Where he’s an extrovert, I’m the introvert.”
Dominic tries to clarify. “Here’s the bottom line,” he says. “I now have to accept full responsibility for everything that’s gone wrong. But what’s been a source in the marriage of great frustration for me, and my wife would be the first to tell you this, is that she doesn’t say ‘I love you.’ And so for me—for me! For another man, that might not be a problem—but for me, that’s something that would drive me up a wall.”
So you hit her because she wouldn’t say “I love you?” I ask.
“The only thing we’re going to say is, there have been times in our marriage when things have gotten out of control. There’s no doubt about it. And here’s why I’m sorry: Because I’m the leader of the family. And the leader’s supposed to set a tone, a foundation, and I completely dropped the ball. Completely.”
When I try to bring up the incident itself, Carter shakes his head. “We’re not discussing that evening,” he says.
That evening, the one that brought all this to the surface, was October 22, 2008. According to Marilyn, it started in the morning, after she took her son, who suffers from epilepsy, to a neurological exam. The doctor suggested lowering his anti-seizure medication. As usual, Marilyn called her husband with the report. Unsatisfied, he demanded to speak directly to the doctor, but she had already left there and declined to return. “That may sound minor to anybody else, but it might take me a week between my schedule and the doctor’s schedule for us to hook up with each other,” he explains. “So I became enraged. And quickly—that’s why I accept full responsibility, because it was during the phone call that I started saying things I shouldn’t say to her: ‘Dumb,’ ‘stupid.’ That’s why I’m accepting it all. Because the whole backdrop starts with me.”
Throughout the day came more angry phone calls, and he returned to Pomona “with an attitude,” she recalls.
He agrees. “Everything else and the kitchen sink comes into play,” he says.
Because of the legal situation, they won’t address exactly what happened next. But this much is not in dispute: Marilyn called 911 and calmly reported her injuries. “He hit me several times in my face, my back, my stomach, all over my body,” she said, adding that her husband was now heading south in his Mercedes-Benz. When the police arrived, she filled out a report and signed it under oath. They took her to the police station, where she filled out another report, which she also signed, then posed for photographs documenting her injuries.
Just two weeks later, she recanted her many statements with a letter to the D.A. “My husband never put one hand on me,” she wrote. “I panicked and said my husband did it because I also thought he was having an affair.” She blamed her injuries on an unnamed “day laborer.”
Nevertheless, over her objections, he was arraigned on third-degree assault charges, a misdemeanor, in Rockland County, where not one household receives NY1. He was unrecognized, and his case went unnoticed. According to his local lawyer, a solo practitioner named Martin E. Gotkin, the Rockland D.A. was extremely generous, offering another ACD. “My client rejected that offer,” Gotkin said.
Making matters worse, Dominic also bragged that Judith Kaye, New York’s former chief judge, and outgoing Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau were “personal friends,” an outburst the judge took as rank intimidation.
“I was screwed if I took the deal, because then Cuomo, who is running for governor, is going to look at my background, every other political reporter’s background, may have found this shit and then leaked it. So these are the things that I was up against,” he says.