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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Dukieen WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: January 27, 2005

ANDRIAS, J.P., SAXE, ELLERIN, SWEENY, CATTERSON, JJ. Laura R. Johnson, The Legal Aid Society, New York (Bonnie C. Brennan of counsel), for appellant. Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx (Susan E. Baumgartner of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Megan Tallmer, J.), rendered May 31, 2002, as amended June 17, 2002, convicting defendant, after a jury trial, of assault in the second degree, and sentencing him to a term of 3 1/212 years, unanimously affirmed.

 The court properly exercised its discretion in admitting evidence of defendant's gang affiliation, since it was highly probative of defendant's motive, explained the relationship between defendant and the victim, and was central to the jury's understanding of an otherwise unexplained assault (see e.g. People v. Edwards, 295 A.D.2d 270, 743 N.Y.S.2d 872 [2002], lv. denied 99 N.Y.2d 557, 754 N.Y.S.2d 209, 784 N.E.2d 82 [2002];  People v. Newby, 291 A.D.2d 460, 738 N.Y.S.2d 355 [2002], lv. denied 98 N.Y.2d 679, 746 N.Y.S.2d 468, 774 N.E.2d 233 [2002];  People v. Bernard, 224 A.D.2d 192, 637 N.Y.S.2d 692 [1996], lv. denied 88 N.Y.2d 964, 647 N.Y.S.2d 718, 670 N.E.2d 1350 [1996] ).   The court's thorough instructions minimized the potential for prejudice.

 Defendant's challenges to the People's summation are unpreserved and we decline to review them in the interest of justice.   Were we to review these claims, we would find that the challenged remarks were generally responsive to defense arguments, and that the court's curative actions prevented any improprieties in the summation from causing undue prejudice (see People v. D'Alessandro, 184 A.D.2d 114, 118-119, 591 N.Y.S.2d 1001 [1992], lv. denied 81 N.Y.2d 884, 597 N.Y.S.2d 945, 613 N.E.2d 977 [1993] ).