updated 08/08/2008 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/08/2008 AT 11:30 AM ET
The father of Hairspray actress Nikki Blonsky must stay behind bars in Turks and Caicos until a trial starts on Aug. 19, a judge ruled in a heated hearing Friday.
Carl Blonsky, 53, faces assault charges in connection with a July 29 airport brawl that police say involved him, daughter Nikki, America’s Next Top Model contestant Bianca Golden, and Golden’s mother, Elaine.
Prosecutor Samantha Glinton said Blonsky – who is charged with assault with grievous bodily harm, a felony punishable by up to five years in jail – injured Elaine Golden so badly she had to be airlifted to a hospital in Aventura, Fla. She stayed for five days before being released to a neurologist, according to medical documents Glinton presented.
“While her condition has improved, she still has some problems,” Glinton said. “She is in the healing stage. She has a right cerebral traumatic lesion, according to the report. She has a slurred left side, left side weakness, insomnia and memory impairment.”
As Blonsky and his wife, Karen – who wiped away tears throughout the hearing – looked on, Blonsky’s attorney Oliver Smith shot back that Golden’s injuries are “not as severe as she wants it to be,” saying videos showed her walking around after the fight. “She is trying to set up a potential lawsuit,” he claimed.
Asking for bail, Smith argued that Blonsky has a clean criminal record and was injured himself in the brawl. “My client … is not a wealthy man. He works in a sewage plant. No prior convictions. He volunteers at his local church, coaches softball, baseball and soccer. He is taking Xanax, Crestor, and has nerve damage to his arm. He takes Percocet.”
Still, the judge denied bail, saying that as a foreigner, Blonsky is a flight risk. “This is ridiculous,” Blonsky’s attorney told PEOPLE outside court. “My client is in bad health, and he does not deserve to be in jail for the next 11 days.”
Nikki Blonsky, 19, was not at the hearing. She and Bianca Golden were both arrested on July 29, but were each freed on $6,000 bail the same day. Elaine Golden was not charged in the incident.
Police told PEOPLE that the fight began over the saving of seats in the small departure lounge of the airport.
“It was a very big fight,” says airport concession worker Esther Roy, who witnessed the altercation. “People were yelling and cursing, and it was all confusion.”
Nikki Blonsky was charged with actual bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of two years, and common assault, with a 90-day maximum term. Golden was also charged with actual bodily harm.
Nikki is due in court on the Caribbean island in December. She has selected a bench trial, meaning that a judge will decide her fate. Bianca Golden has selected a jury trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 17.