The trial is to resume Monday in Ontario County Court.
CANANDAIGUA — Ontario County Court Judge Frederick Reed Friday morning denied Michael Socciarelli’s defense team's motion for a mistrial, after a New York State Police investigator admitted to forgetting to follow up on video from the night of the alleged rape.
Socciarelli, 33, of Hopewell is facing first-degree rape and numerous other charges after he allegedly bought booze for an underage party. Prosecution and defense are scheduled to give their closing arguments Monday.
“She showed me about a 20-some-second video clip on her cell phone. They acted as if they were swimming away from sharks and at the end grabs her buttocks,” said lead investigator David Eisler, who had asked the witness, a relative of the alleged victim, to email him the video. “I couldn’t open the file and deleted the email. My intention was to recontact and have her send it.”
Ben Gilmour, who is co-counsel for Socciarelli, then asked Eisler if he actually did follow up and he replied: “No, I forgot to.”
There are over a dozen files totaling about 10 minutes from the booze-filled party, in which the victim and several family members appear to have been drinking heavily.
Defense attorneys argued that in the videos they viewed for the first time Thursday night, there are multiple racial and religious slurs from both the defendant and the victim. Because the jury pool is ethnically diverse, some might deem the language offensive.
Gilmour further argued that the failure to provide the video to the defense team impacts their strategy in handling the case from the start. Additionally, that failure of Eisler to follow up is a Brady violation, as well as a violation of State Police protocol, he argued.
According to earlier testimony from the family members of the victim, they watched the 15-year-old girl and Socciarelli drink between five and 10 funnels of Twisted Tea. She then passed out in a spare bedroom, where they believe that he went back and raped her.
Medical experts testified that they discovered Socciarelli’s DNA inside the victim's underwear and on her body.
"I think it (video) paints a very different picture of what was going on at this time,” said Carrie Bleakley, co-counsel for Socciarelli. “The witnesses weren’t simply sitting by.”
Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts disagreed that there is a Brady violation; however, he conceded that there is a Sandoval violation.
Reed denied the motion for dismissal and granted the defense team a few hours Friday to review the video with their client and potentially recall any witnesses.