|Minutillo on the witness stand|
Oh my goodness...
GA was about to tell you-all about how Leon Gold, Jean Mare Mitchell and I were booted from Matt Calicchio's harassment trial today; his attorney, Elise DiNardo called us 'potential witnesses' forcing us from the courtroom in a legal strategy intended to throw the complaining witness, Theresa Minutillo, off her game.
Well, I had a LOT to say about that until I got a call from Minutillo herself and.... WOW.
Folks if there's any 'bad' news, it's that the judge found the complaint didn't rise to the level of criminal behavior.
But that's where the 'bad news' ends. The rest...
GA spoke to Minutillo and her lone supporter left in the courtroom- who took copious notes. And the bombshells dropped in that Union City Municipal Court will reverberate here in Hoboken, from City Hall to 1200 Washington Street, home of the Mason Family Civic League.
GA is expecting the full narrative tomorrow, but here's some of what went down in that courtroom as it was told to me. From my notes:
- The prosecutor got Matt Calicchio's witness, Tania Garcia (relative of BoE member Carmelo Garcia) to admit she's on Beth Mason's payroll Garcia said she works 28 hours a week as of January 2012, and before that volunteered at the "commuity space" (Gallery 1200). She said that she works with Matt Calicchio.
- Tania Garcia testified she did not know that Theresa Minutillo was on the School Board.
- Garcia claimed she was not there at the time of the alleged incident (Minutillo said that garcia witnessed it).
- Garcia said the Calicchio accompanied her to pick up her son from Wallace school.
- Quote: "I am on the payroll of the Mason Family Civic League since June 2011."
- Matt claimed his nephew is a 4-year old in the school system and that's why he attends School Board meetings.
- The prosecutor asked, "Who do you attend Board meetings with?" Calicchio responded, "With political friends: Frank Raia, my brother (Nick Calicchio), Michelle Russo and once with Beth Mason."
- DiNardo asked Calicchio if he read about his case online. MC said yes, about 10 times. DiNardo asked where. MC said on Hoboken Horse. DiNardo asked who wrote about him. MC answered "Roman Brice." The judge interrupted, "Stop! Stop! I get it's all about politics!" ending DiNardo's line of questioning.
- DiNardo kept referring to Calicchio's "twin" brother. (Is Nick his twin?)
"Someone here is lying. Like a stop light we have red or green there is no yellow here"
"There was no credible testimony by Tania Garcia and Matt Calicchio"
"Tania Garcia's uncle is on the Board of Education. She works for Beth Mason. She is a political player."
"Matt Calicchio is being used for politics in exchange for a job.""He's nobody even if he may think he is but he's being used."
"This is having a chilling effect on democracy. why would anyone run for office (with this)? This is very disturbing and uncivilized. This is bullying."
" It's a political job (Tani Garcia's)- she can walk into her job anytime she wants, that's a political job.""Any board member should be allowed to live their lives without being accosted on the street"
- The judge asked, "What 23 year old goes to a School Board meeting? You're hired political people. You're hired because of what you do politically."
- The judge asked, "Why do you volunteer at the Civic Association? You get a paying job. You both have paying jobs but you pick up your son together... you go to board meetings... that what you do."
- The judge did not believe Calicchio was in the schoolyard just to pick up Garcia's daughter.
- The judge (and prosecutor) cited that Minutillo had been harassed in the past, but only filed a complaint now because it happened in the presence of her 5 year-old child, which crossed a line.
- The judge gave a passionate summation, talked about uncivil discourse in our country as a threat to democracy- referring to President Obama being called a "liar" by a senator- and spoke personally about being accosted in Union City because of his job. He seemed to empathize with Minutillo's harassment simply because she is a Board member.
- The judge referred to Calicchio's and Garcia's testimony as "garbage."
- He reprimanded DiNardo if she's going to put on witnesses to have them get their story straight.
But a LOT of connections were made in that courtroom and they all lead to one person.
(Updated- 6/8/12, 7:30 am)GA got more notes from the courtroom witness:
Calicchio's attorney DiNardo read selections from definition of 'harassment': "anonymous, using offensive & course language" at an inconvenient time, in an effort to have the case dismissed. The Prosecutor affirmed that it did fit definition of harassment and the judge agreed.
The judge said Minutillo had used the words 'scared' and 'frightened' which meets criteria for 'harassment' so case should continue.
Judge to Calicchio: "You're a fool who is being used. What's very disturbing is that people openly lie under oath."
The judge told Tania Garcia that she probably got the job because of her uncle (Carmelo Garcia).
Garcia said Carmelo Garcia is her "son's uncle", but she "rarely ever sees him--maybe once every 3 months."
Judge advised MC that "he did not have to testify." MC said he wanted to testify.
DiNardo asked Minutillo about BOE meetings, establishing BOE meetings can be challenging & disrespectful. Dinardo aked her, "Does MC (Matt Calliccio) attend meetings? "He has a twin"--are you aware of that?"
(GA Note: was DiNardo trying to establish a defense that MC has a twin, and that the twin had harassed Minutillo, not MC? Huh?)