Testimony begins for trial in CDTA bus incident

April 18, 2017 06:36 PM

Opening arguments were heard in the case of two former UAlbany students. They're accused of lying about what they said was a racially motivated attack on a CDTA bus.

There are many interpretations of what happened on the bus at the end of January 2016. We know there was a fight. We know that many of the college students involved had been drinking. We also know that two young women, Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell are on trial for allegedly instigating the fight and then allegedly lying about it to authorities.

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During opening arguments in the trial, Prosecutor David Rossi told jurors: "You’re not here to solve all the racial woes of society over the course of the next several days."

Next up was Defense Attorney Mark Mishler, who’s representing Agudio. He told jurors: "The evidence won’t stand up under your scrutiny. We have much different views of how we see this case. One person’s noise and distractions is another person’s rights."

Mishler reiterated: "The trial is about how people perceive things differently depending on their life experiences."

Defense attorney Frederick Brewington, who represents Burwell, acknowledged: "There’s no question there was a whole lot of underage drinking here. They were much more than tipsy. No one is charged with underage drinking even though they admit it. Why?"

The jury is made up of six men and six women. Three of them are African-Americans.

On the first day of trial testimony, there were 12 witnesses on the witness stand. Before the trial ends next week, there are expected to be around three-dozen witnesses in all.


WNYT Staff

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