updated 6/9/2006 6:06:42 PM ET 2006-06-09T22:06:42

A white man accused of pummeling a black man over the head with a baseball bat was convicted of second-degree assault as a hate crime Friday after a three-week trial that focused on the defendant's use of "the N-word" during the beating.

A jury deliberated for eight hours over two days before finding 20-year-old Nicholas Minucci guilty in the assault of Glenn Moore last June in the predominantly white Queens neighborhood of Howard Borce against someone attempting to commit a crime and said he was "a scapegoat because he's a dope."

Prosecutors charged that Minucci, then a 240-pound man with the nickname "Fat Nick," hurled what was described as "the N-word" during the attack and shouted, "We'll show you not to come and rob white boys."

Moore, who suffered a fractured skull, admitted that he and two friends were in the neighborhood trying to steal a car but said they hadn't taken anything when they crossed paths with Minucci and his companions.

Moore sat stoically in the second row of the courtroom with a court officer and his mother as the verdict was read.

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