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Prosecutor Cross-Examines in Michael Sandy Trial

Anthony Fortunato, whose lawyer has been trying to build a case casting doubt on hate crime charges in the Michael Sandy trial by asserting that his client is gay, has chosen to testify in his own defense.

Sandy_fortunatoThe assistant district attorney Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi had her turn with him yesterday. The New York Times was clearly impressed with her performance:

"Working from a typed outline organized by category, she asked yes-or-no questions and cut off elaboration. Over and over, she confronted Mr. Fortunato with his own words, taken from direct testimony and online messages, asking, 'That was another lie, yes or no?' Mr. Fortunato watched her ask each question, then turned to the jury. As Ms. Nicolazzi led him through a binary narrative of the attack, he began to contest small details, to change the subject and to resort to sarcasm. Asked if he had thought someone on a gay Web site would be easy to manipulate, he said, 'It was consensual.' Asked if he had planned to meet the gay man for sex, he said, 'It was a possibility.' Asked if the beach had been dark, he said, 'Fairly dark.' Asked if the beach consisted of sand alongside the ocean, he said, 'As most.' At midafternoon, the judge sent the jury out, then warned spectators against giving Mr. Fortunato hand signals or whispered cues. 'I understand tensions are running high,' said the judge, Jill Konviser-Levine. 'That’s understandable.' When the jury returned, Ms. Nicolazzi stood. She was pacing now, three steps left and three back right, raising her voice a notch to confront Mr. Fortunato with his statements to the police. 'So what you chose to tell them was a lie, or leaving things out,' Ms. Nicolazzi said. 'Yes or no?' Mr. Fortunato considered that for a moment, then said: 'Leaving things out.'"

Defendant in Hate Case Is Examined by Prosecutor [nyt]

In related news, there is a memorial service and vigil planned for Michael Sandy on the one-year anniversary of his death. Details after the jump....



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  1. Thanks for the update, and please keep them coming. After hearing years of the "gay panic" as a reason for murder, I want to know how this case turns out with "I too am gay" as a defense for an alleged murder. And, thank goodness the prosecutor saw right through this lie, and drilled him on it.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Oct 3, 2007 8:02:08 PM

  2. Thanks for updating us on the horrible death of this young man.

    Posted by: mikey d | Oct 4, 2007 4:09:42 AM

  3. Thanks for the memorial service info. I think I want to get some friends together and go on the 13th. With all the crap that the defense is spewing about this not being a hate crime, there's a little relief to know that if you search Anthony Fortunato's name on google, the words "Hate Crime" are in almost every result...

    Posted by: Davey | Oct 4, 2007 9:38:30 AM

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