Cirignano trial: jury selection

posted by Mike on October 16th, 2007

little_larry.jpgI think Larry Cirignano’s lost some weight, because I didn’t recognize him entering court this morning until it was almost too late to snap his picture.

Today’s events in skylit Courtroom 24 began with a number of motions by the prosection and defense. At one point, the defense lawyer argued that if you have a permit for a demonstration, you have the right to use force to keep people with a contrary message out of the area. You’ll remember that Mr. Cirignano is accused of assaulting a woman at a rally last December at Worcester City Hall.

Things today got as far as impanelling the jury. Eight people; five men, three women; one black man; only one person younger than late middle age.

  • You should be able to read more detailed accounts of the action later today from Bay Windows’ Ethan Jacobs (who’s been subpoenaed, but wasn’t at the incident itself and probably won’t testify).
  • T&G reporter Richard Nangle, who was present at the crime, has been asked to testify, but the paper’s lawyers are fighting it “tooth and nail.” Mr. Nangle was present in court briefly this morning, but didn’t say anything.
  • Shari Worthington, who’s filed a scam complaint against the woman Cirignano assaulted, is herself scheduled to be a witness in the case. Her statements about her criminal complaint have been cuckoo, so it’ll be interesting to hear her talk under oath. Maybe we can get a sense of her motivations.

If you want to come down to see the beginning of the trial, it starts 9am, Wednesday, October 17, Fourth Floor, Courtroom 24, 224 Main Street, Worcester.

N.B. Comments that add nothing but insults to the conversation will be deleted (unless the insults are really good).

Update: Here’s the relevant podcast and essays (one and two) from Michael Ball:

We’ll see how it goes, but I think Cirignano is probably going to be sorry he didn’t plea on this one.

Scam complaint filed against woman “assaulted” in Cirignano trial

posted by Mike on October 14th, 2007

Here’s a PDF of a criminal complaint filed against Sarah Loy, the woman the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported was shoved to the ground by a guy named Larry Cirignano last December. Cirignano is on trial for the assault in Worcester October 16.

The criminal complaint, filed by Shari Worthington of the Worcester Republican Blog, is for “disturbing a lawful assembly.”

Why would someone file a complaint so long after the incident? As the stunningly-ineffective anti-gay-marriage group Mass Resistance writes, “A hearing has been set for Oct. 29 regarding the complaint against Loy. At that hearing, a magistrate will decide whether to press formal charges. . . . But this causes a big problem for Loy. If she testifies against Larry on Oct. 16, she risks incriminating herself in a trial against her!”

Which raises a key question: Is it worse to be a sleazy lawyer, or a sleazy lawyer’s stooge?

The relevant statute:

Chapter 272 Section 40. Whoever wilfully interrupts or disturbs a school or other assembly of people met for a lawful purpose shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fine of not more than fifty dollars; provided, however, that whoever, within one year after being twice convicted of a violation of this section, again violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by imprisonment for one month, and the sentence imposing such imprisonment shall not be suspended.

Fifty bucks, and probably no chance of prison? I wouldn’t let this intimidate me one bit. (Easy for me to say, of course.)

Cirignano arraigned today

posted by Mike on April 11th, 2007

Larry Cirignano is being arraigned in Worcester court today. You’ll recall he allegedly pushed a woman to the ground at an anti-gay-marriage rally.

I was outside the courthouse a little this morning to try and snap a picture of the elusive fellow, but no luck.

Update: I’ve heard conflicting reports of the hearing. How can there be conflicting reports of an arraignment? Anyway, I think if there was real news, Ethan Jacobs would have posted something on the “Bay Windows” website by now.

Update 2: “Cirignano pleads not guilty”

Cirignano hearing

posted by Mike on February 20th, 2007

Larry Cirignano appeared at the Worcester courthouse this morning for a probable cause hearing in connection with an alleged assault at a marriage rally late last year.

I couldn’t hang around the court all morning, so you’ll get no news from me. Kevin Ksen of Indymedia and Ethan Jacobs of Bay Windows are on the scene, so some reportage may surface.

IMGA0050

Update: Sounds like the Cirignano case is moving forward. One photographer on the scene tells me he tried to get a shot of Cirignano leaving, but that he’d eluded the press. I wandered by the court on my lunch hour, and while my photo isn’t good, it’s something.

IMGA0052
Larry Cirignano

Update: Rock on, Ethan Jacobs:

Following the hearing, which was not open to the public or the press, Cirignano confirmed to Bay Windows that the magistrate had found probable cause on both charges, but he declined to comment further.

Telegram & Gazette update (the next morning):

Criminal complaints charging Larry Cirignano, 50, of Arlington, Va., with assault and battery and a civil rights violation were issued yesterday after a show-cause hearing in Central District Court.

[…]

Ms. Loy initially told police she was not injured, but investigators later photographed a small bruise on her elbow.

Three witnesses said they saw Mr. Cirignano push Ms. Loy “with force,” according to the [police] report.

posted by Mike in Larry Cirignano | on February 20th, 2007 | Permanent Link to “Cirignano hearing” | No Comments »

How many Cirignano incident videos?

posted by Mike on February 12th, 2007

Larry Cirignano should be appearing in court soon for shoving a woman to the ground during a demonstration in front of Worcester’s City Hall.

Kevin at Indymedia takes a look at photos from that day and notes that at least 2 videos of the incident may exist.

Photo of Worcester marriage rally
Photo: Worcester Indymedia

Catholic Worcester and Larry Cirignano

posted by Mike on December 18th, 2006

Kevin at Indymedia claims that Worcester’s Catholics by-and-large avoided Saturday’s marriage rally:

None of Worcester’s well known Catholic faces attended the “Rally for Democracy” and there were not any parish priests or sisters in the audience.

One of the organizers explains:

The Bishop was already committed to several events because of Christmas. Father Roy of Sacred Heart in Webster was on the agenda, but ended up doing a funeral on Saturday and couldn’t make it into Worcester until late afternoon.

If you haven’t worked much with bishops or priests, know that this is a typical problem. These men are busy, and can cancel at the last minute if something more important comes up.

Of the Catholics I know in Worcester, most of them don’t like gay marriage. I wonder if the tone of the anti-gay-marriage campaign hasn’t turned them off from being more involved.

If there really were no Worcester priests, nuns, or notable laity, that’s a bad sign for this campaign. It’s already a bad sign there weren’t enough of them there that their presence was obvious.

More from Indymedia:

Present though among this mix was a reporter/photographer from the Catholic Free Press. He interviewed and recorded Sarah Loy after she gave her statement to Worcester police officers. When he finished interviewing Ms Loy, I asked him if he thought the Catholic Free Press’s Editor Margaret Russell would use the interview. He said he didn’t know, but she’s the one that had assigned coverage of the rally.

So the “mainstream” Catholic media was present, has photographs and an interview regarding the assault, the question is will the Free Press and Diocese further distance itself from Larry Cirignano by publishing the full story or will it kill the story?

I’d be surprised if the Free Press covered this controversy. But they’ve surprised me before.

More on Cirignano incident

posted by Mike on December 17th, 2006

Worcester police interview Larry CirignanoKevin Ksen at Indymedia talked with Cirignano after he shoved a woman to the ground:

I spoke with Cirignano after the rally and asked him his side of what happened, “That lady came up to the podium and I escorted her back into the audience.” Given what had transpired, I followed-up to make sure I heard correctly, “Escorted?”, “Yes, escorted”, he replied. Asked if he felt he assaulted her he shot back without hesitation, “Hell, no!” adding, “She’s an actress, she’s a professional actress.”

Immediately after the assault took place Loy and others turned to the Worcester Police Officers present at the rally. And while the officers quickly took Loy’s complaint, they responded that since they had not seen the assault happen they couldn’t put Mr. Cirignano under arrest. In fact it was only after the intervention of Ron Madnick, Executive Director of the Worcester ACLU Chapter that officers agreed to take statements from witnesses who had stepped forward. At first officers said they didn’t need to take statements, but faced with Madnick’s and witnesses’ persistence they did. It did not appear though that they spoke with any of the people that videotaped the assault.

The rally continued uninterrupted as Police took Cirignano off to the side to question him. He was unfazed and non-apologetic as he was interviewed and charged.

Rollbiz at BlueMassGroup gives his own account:

It wasn’t a bump or a jostle. Cirignano took her by the shoulders, with both hands, and shoved her to the ground. I saw it, and I don’t think there was any misinterpreting his intent. He meant to hurt her.

Ryan Adams and Live, Love, and Learn are others who’ve blogged about this.

Assault at marriage rally

posted by Mike on December 17th, 2006

The Telegram & Gazette reports that my friend Sarah Loy was assaulted (shoved to the ground) by Larry Cirignano, executive director of CatholicVote.org, at an anti-gay-marriage rally in Worcester yesterday. Sarah was part of the pro-gay-marriage contingent.

Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester was holding a sign in defense of same-sex marriage amid a sea of green “Let the People Vote” signs when Larry Cirignano of Canton, who heads the Catholic Citizenship group, ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.

Updates:

  • The Worcester Republican blog tries to spin this as being Sarah’s fault. Way to throw ethics out the window, guys. If you have a problem with someone at a demonstration, and there are cops about, you can first talk with the person, then refer it to the police.
  • Photos posted at Indymedia.
  • Mass ResistanceWatch also chimes in.
  • Michael Ball has a good late-afternoon wrapup.

This is one of those one-in-a-hundred posts where I wish I had a Jay Rosen-type format, so updates to the original post could be handled elegantly.

Worcester police interview Larry Cirignano
Worcester police interview Cirignano. Indymedia photo.

Worcester police interview Sarah Loy
Worcester police interview Ms. Loy. Indymedia photo.

(There’s a blank wiki page for Cirignano here.)

Ray Flynn, Cardinal O'Malley, Larry Cirignano
Ray Flynn, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, and Larry Cirignano. Photo from Archdiocese of Boston.