In an odd display of gratitude, given the possibility that his client could have been charged with aiding and abetting rape (or, theoretically, kidnapping), attorney Michael Santicola has used an interview with WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh (an NBC affilliate) to hurl criticism at prosecutor Fred Bright.
Santicola told Alan Jennings of WPXI that the prosecutor used Monday’s press conference as a “political commercial” for a re-election campaign. Santicola also called the alleged victim and her friends “highly inebriated individuals.”
Santicola represents Anthony Barravecchio, a police officer who was serving on the night in question as one of Roethlisberger’s bodyguards.
“In no way did Mr. Barravechhio escort or guide this girl down the hallway into the bathroom,” Santicola said. (Based on the statement given by the alleged victim the morning after the alleged incident, that’s accurate; she claims that she was guided only into the hallway, and that she went to the bathroom only while trying to get away from Roethlisberger.)
Santicola also claims that the alleged victim’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent.
But there’s no dispute that the alleged victim was highly intoxicated. (She apparently acquired that condition due in part to drinks purchased by Roethlisberger.) Her level of intoxication contributed to the decision not to pursue charges, since it helped create more than enough “reasonable doubt” to counsel against prosecution.
As to Santicola’s contention that Barravecchio’s job duties that night didn’t include placing the object of Roethlisberger’s desire in the appropriate position and then guarding the door after he entered the area where Barravecchio had taken her, we prefer to hear the denials not from Santicola but from Barravecchio himself. Indeed, we’re more swayed by the accounts of witnesses who were drinking and present over the accounts of a witness like Santicola, who was sober and, you know, not there.
But we will agree with Santicola regarding his assessment of a portion of Bright’s remarks. Hired only to prosecute crimes, his job ends once he decides not to pursue charges. Though we’ll agree that in this case his job included explaining the decision not to proceed in order to counteract the notion that celebrities get special consideration, we think that Bright crossed the line separating the professions of prosecutor and, well, pastor when he opted to offer his own opinions regarding the manner in which Roethlisberger should engage in legal behavior.