Over in Albany, NY a judge has thrown out assault charges filed against a mixed-martial arts fighter who reportedly beat up Times Union food critic Steve Barnes over a year ago. The critic identified his assailant in a police lineup, but because he didn't confirm this in a "sworn statement" the judge couldn't accept his word as evidence. Apart from the ruling, the trial its self sounds like a real nightmare: the proceedings were repeatedly delayed because people failed to show up for court dates, and information had to be checked and re-checked many times.
The incident in question happened last April, when the critic was leaving Creo Restaurant in Stuyvesant Plaza with a friend. Barnes had mentioned on the Times Union website that he would be dining there that night. Immediately after entering the restaurant's parking lot, two men came up to Barnes and his friend and — without speaking — starting throwing punches at them for several seconds before running away.
Curiously, the man that Barnes identified as his assailant, Gerald Spiegal, has a connection with Envy, a restaurant that Barnes gave a negative review to in the past. The assumption here is that this was a premeditated attack.
It sounds like the main reasons that the charges were thrown out have to do with the prosecutorial missteps in the trial. The Albany district attorney plans to appeal the ruling, noting:
"Needless to say, we disagree with it wholeheartedly and while Judge Randall goes to great lengths to make it appear that the district attorney's office somehow delayed or failed to respond to orders, I would note that our responses to motions were filed the very next day."The critic himself has yet to comment on the ruling.
·Charges thrown out in reporter assault case [Times Union]