MARTINEZ -- An Antioch business owner pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he attempted to hire a hit man to maim a former employee.

Joseph Mosis, 52, entered the plea during a brief arraignment in Superior Court. He is charged with attempted aggravated mayhem and solicitation of an assault likely to cause great bodily injury.

Mosis allegedly was so enraged over being taken to the labor board by a former employee, a fellow Egyptian, that he sought to have the man disfigured by "an enforcer." Prosecutors say Mosis agreed on a verbal contract with a man he believed to be an enforcer but was actually an undercover police officer -- a $1,200 payment in exchange for having the ex-employee's penis and tongue cut off.

Joseph Mosis returns to custody after he appeared in Judge Bruce Mills’ courtroom in the Bray Courthouse in Martinez, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 26,
Joseph Mosis returns to custody after he appeared in Judge Bruce Mills' courtroom in the Bray Courthouse in Martinez, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

defense attorney Derek Ewin, who represented Mosis on Monday, argued at a preliminary hearing in April that the discussion did not constitute an agreement. Mosis' next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.

Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.



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