With only a handful of people in the main courtroom of the Centre County Courthouse, it was hardly the most talked about sports-related hearing that took place Thursday. But the proceedings involving Penn State safety Anthony Scirrotto were of significant interest to Nittany Lion fans.
Scirrotto is awaiting trial on felony charges of burglary and criminal trespass as well as a series of lesser chargers stemming from an April 1 incident in a downtown State College apartment where a group of Penn State football players were allegedly involved in a brawl. Prosecutors contend Scirrotto's actions led to the brawl.
Scirrotto's attorney, Ron McGlaughlin, requested the Thursday hearing before Judge Charles Brown, who is scheduled to handle the trial. McGlaughlin argued that Scirrotto was incorrectly bound over for trial (he cited lack of evidence against his client) and asked that all charges be dropped.
McGlaughlin allowed that Scirrotto admitted to police that he was in the apartment where the alleged fight took place, so the criminal trespass charge was the most difficult to argue. But he stated no evidence in a preliminary hearing on the matter indicated Scirrotto burglarized the apartment, assaulted anyone or rallied his teammates to fight on his behalf.
Assistant district attorney Carolyn Fenton disagreed. Using the phrase accomplice liability, she suggested that Scirrotto could be held accountable for the alleged crimes in question because, in the state's view, he rallied his teammates to his defense. She admitted that the evidence to that effect is largely circumstantial.
Both attorneys will submit briefs to Brown within the next two weeks and the judge will likely make a decision on the matter within a month.
Scirrotto, who has accepted a one-semester expulsion from Penn State (the second summer semester) for his role in the downtown altercation, attended the hearing with his parents. He was wearing a blue shirt, no tie and casual pants. He is due to return to campus and the team early next month.
The criminal trial on this matter was originally slated for September but was delayed a month at the request of the prosecution. The DA's office wants to review records of Penn State's Judicial Affairs hearings that led to Scirrotto's expulsion.
Only one other Penn State player faces criminal charges in connection with the April 1 incident. Defensive tackle Chris Baker has been charged with the same felony crimes as Scirrotto.
You can see our exclusive video interview with McGlaughlin below. Also, you can click the links below to check out the live coverage we provided from the courthouse while the trial was going on.
Attorney Ron McGlaughlin talks about Anthony Scirrotto
Scirrotto Hearing Summary Notes (July 26 - TAP)
Live Hearing Updates (July 26 - TAP)
Inside the Courtroom: Preliminary Hearing Review (May 4 - TAP)
Story on Preliminary Hearing (May 4).
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