Cirignano trial: afternoon 1

posted by Mike on October 17th, 2007

Channel 3 was gone, but the T&G’s Dianne Williamson was there this afternoon.

The T&G lawyer again tries to get Nangle to not have to testify.

Christopher Robarge

Another witness for the prosecution. 25 year old Worcesterite and counter-demonstrator. Was at the back of the main demonstration.

Saw someone moving fast through the crowd & then fall. Went to help her. (He was a certified EMT-B in Connecticut, and worked for volunteer ambulance services.)

“She was on the ground, she was upset, she was crying.”

“I did see hands on her shoulders.”

Cross-examination. Defense starts drawing on a map of City Hall Plaza with a pen, but nobody can read it, so they get him a marker.

More about the buffer zone. “In my recollection I did not cross the buffer at all.”

Defense tries to determine how many people and signs were in the way of his vision. Witness points out that many of the signs were on poles and so they weren’t blocking anything.

Looks at post-fall photo of her: “I do not see any injury on her head. However this is a picture of the front of her head.”

He’s done. After another sidebar with the T&G lawyer…

Telegram & Gazette reporter Richard Nangle

Richard Nangle, considered by some to be the best journalist on the T&G staff, takes the stand. He was at the event—here’s his article.

He was at the rally from the beginning.

Rough quote: “What I saw was, someone approach a person who was pushed, push her. She hit the ground. Her head hit the ground. He ran to the podium. She was on the ground crying.”

Cross-examination. Defense points out that Nangle isn’t visible in any of the crowd photos, and suggests that he was other than where he says he was. Nangle denies it.

“You say you saw Mr. Cirignano push her.” “Yeah.” “You say that you saw her head hit the ground.” “Yes.”

Defense suggests that it was in Mr. Nangle’s interest to “promote” the story. Nangle: “No, it could very well have been to my disadvantage.”

Sarah Loy, who was pushed

Sarah went to the rally, helped hold the ACLU banner (she’s an active member). Stopped holding the banner so she could hold a sign.

“I wanted the crowd to see the message on my sign.”

Went into the empty space in the middle of the main rally and held the sign up to her chest. Was on a step for a few seconds. Women in the crowd were yelling, “You can’t stand there.” She stepped down to crowd level, still holding the sign, and nobody said anything.

After a few more seconds, she felt a firm grip on her shoulders, she turned to see Cirignano, who was within arm’s reach. His hands were on her shoulders, and he told her to leave in an “angry” voice while pushing her “back towards the crowd.” She was pushed backwards 5-6 feet and fell. She hit the ground holding her sign. Cirignano was gone. People were standing around her holding green anti-gay-marriage signs.

After a few seconds, Rev. Payson came over and helped her up. “Some lady” got police to come over. She said several times to police that she wanted to press charges.

Going back in time: she felt scared when she was grabbed. People asked if she was hurt and she told police and others she was OK.

She remained at the rally till the end. Later she noticed she was bruised on the elbow and shoulder. A couple days later she went to the police station and they photographed the now-yellowing bruise.

Cross-examination. Spends a lot of time trying to clarify/confuse the issue of how Cirignano’s hands were on her shoulders both before and after she turned.

Defense says Cirignano had a clipboard in one hand the whole incident, and pushed her lower back with his arm, and then she tripped on the foot of a girl in a purple jacket.

Lots of questioning, and she gets annoyed.

Defense asks if police Sgt. Wells had to prevent her from returning to the main rally, and she says he didn’t. He told her to stay back, but she says this wasn’t because she was planning to return to the main rally. Note: The defense will probably show a videotape in which Wells tells her to stay back and she does say she wants to return to the rally. Uh oh.

Did she discuss her plan to intrude on the other rally with her husband or Ron Madnick? No.

We break for the day, and Loy will return in the morning for more questions. The defense tells the judge he may very well recall Nangle to clarify inconsistencies between his testimony and his reporting.

Man, this defense lawyer has found small inconsistencies (or what he believes to be inconsistencies) in most of the testimony so far. So far the prosecutor hasn’t shown that he has those kind of chops, and I bet some of the defense witnesses will come off as pretty credible. Remind me never to get called as a witness in a trial with good lawyers.

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