The trial of a woman accused of feeding her lookalike friend poison cheesecake began in the New York City borough of Queens on Monday, CBS New York reports.
Prosecutors say the suspect hoped to kill her target and steal her identity.
When Olga Svyk was asked if the person who tried to poison her with cheesecake was in the courtroom, there was a sharp silence and a stare of suspense as the two locked eyes for what might have been the first time in years.
When asked how she was feeling, Svyk replied, "Not so good."
Prosecutors say Viktoria Nasyrova, of Brooklyn, wanted Syvk dead.
The reason? "Because she was desperate to never return to Russia," Assistant District Attorney Konstantinos Litourgis said.
He said that in August 2016 Svyk, a skin beautification technician specializing in eyelashes, was called by her client, Nasyrova, about an eyelash emergency. The DA said Nasyrova asked Syvk to come to her Queens home for a quick fix.
Nasyrova allegedly brought cheesecake laced with a potentially fatal drug found only in Russia.
A friend testified that Svyk was found by paramedics passed out and with pills around her.
Litourgis said, "She immediately gets sick. She starts to vomit. She was hallucinating. She came to realize many of her valuables were gone from her room -- almost $4,000 in cash, a red purse, a cherished ring and, most importantly, her Ukrainian passport and her U.S.-issued employment authorization card."
The DA said Nasyrova chose a victim who resembled her at the time -- both had dark hair and the same skin complexion and both could speak Russian.
When police arrested Nasyrova, she had the victim's passport with her, prosecutors allege.
Litourgis said Nasyrova is a fugitive from Russia, wanted for the 2014 murder of a woman there.
Accordoing to prosecutors, Nasyrova was on police radar before allegedly targeting Svyk, suspected of drugging men in Brooklyn she met on dating websites and robbing them when they passed out.
Nasyrova's attorney, Christopher Hoyt, said during opening statements that, "This is not an open-and-shut case. We are here today because Ms. Nasyrova is not guilty of these charges."
In a 2017 interview with "48 Hours" from jail, Nasyrova denied trying to poison Syvk.
"I know this young woman. I can tell you that I did not force her to eat it," Nasyrova said.
Nasyrova faces a long list of charges including attempted murder. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
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