In a shortened session on Friday April 18th, the defense completed their cross-examination of officer Bovell, the supposed victim of assault by Cecily McMillan.
Before the jury was brought in, Martin Stolar, Cecily’s lawyer, raised three motions.
1. Stolar requested permission to ask Bovell a question regarding Austin Guest, the victim of another assault by Bovell on the same evening of March 17th, 2012. Stolar believed he had good-faith basis of two corroborating witnesses (Shawn Carrie’s tweet from that evening including Bovell’s badge number and name, and Austin Guest’s own account of the incident). Zweibel denied this motion on the basis that Guest made no sworn affidavit and called the two witnesses’ accounts ‘hearsay’.
2. Stolar requested a lift on his gag order which Zweibel denied claiming that Stolar’s comments to the press were prejudicing the Jury. When Stolar pointed out that this was impossible as the Jury has been instructed not to read the press, and that, even if they did, everything he was saying was public record and/or that he will argue to the jury in this trial. Zweibel was unable to answer Stolar’s question of ‘how does this prejudice the jury’ but maintained this as the basis of the gag order and refused to reconsider it.
3. Stolar clarified that Choi had shown videos of M17, which he had submitted as evidence, to Bovell outside of court and asked if had authenticated the videos as true/accurate accounts of what happened. Bovell was able to authenticate segments of some of the videos but no video in its entirety.
*In regards to Choi’s ongoing strong defense of Bovell and the NYPD, Marty commented ‘you would make a great defense attorney’.
In an illuminating moment, Zweibel made clear his own beliefs about the case, repeating the prosecutions’ argument as if it were fact regarding the video content, saying ‘the video shows that she crouched down and then hit the cop with her elbow’. Marty clarified that this is not fact but rather the prosecutions’ argument.
While Zweibel would not allow Stolar to mention Austin Guests’ assault in front of the jury, Stolar was able to ask a few questions of Bovell regarding his two previous IAB investigations on assault charges he faced in 2009 and 2010. In one of the cases, he denied kicking a civilian, but admitted breaking his foot as a result of their encounter.
In several instances, Officer Bovell gave conflicting testimony, most notably denying the account of the arresting officer, Lisa Waring, who testified that Bovell told her he was escorting another protestor out of the park when Ms. Mcmillan assaulted him. Even when given a copy of Waring’s sworn testimony, Bovell denied ever telling her that.
Bovell testified to the Assistant Defense Attorney that Cecily was faking a seizure. When asked how he knew it was fake, he listed criteria of a seizure which Cecily neglected to demonstrate to him. On cross-examination, Stolar asked ‘when did you go to med school?’ which was sustained by Zweibel before making clear that Bovell had no medical knowledge of different types of seizures.
Supporters were frustrated by the blatant bias of Judge Zweibel, who maintained different levels of rigor in what he allowed each side to ask—giving considerably more leeway to the prosecution to ask questions regarding the context of the incident but would not allow any such questions on the part of the defense.
The prosecution will continue with their remaining witnesses on Monday morning, April 21 at 10:30am at 100 Centre Stroom 1116 part 41.
April, 7, 2014, Manhattan, NY- Cecily McMillan, accompanied by approximately 50 supporters, was back in court today for pre-trial motions. Judge Zweibel upheld his previous decision on motion 50-4(a), denying access again to Officer Grantley Bovell’s personnel files, on the grounds that this previous history of excessive force and corruption are not relevant to the case at hand. The DA argued that none of these cases were substantiated due to the recommendation from the internal affairs bureau, an arm of the NYPD.
Many supporters showed up to court this morning, wearing a pink hand over their right breast, signifying solidarity with Cecily, who was sexually assaulted in this exact manner by Officer Bovell the night of March 17, 2012. Judge Zweibel ordered that these signs of solidarity would be forbidden in the court room, as the claim of sexual assault is unsubstantiated since Cecily never reported this incident to the IAB directly.
Jury selection was postponed due to a supposed lack of potential jurists in the building. It will begin tomorrow morning,Tuesday April 8th, at 9:30am at 100 Centre St Room 116 Part 41.