Charges dropped in Baker's Dozen case

April 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a major development out of San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday.

A judge ruled that two young men should not stand trial for attacking members of a Yale University singing group. The singers were beaten up after a New Year's Eve party nearly a year and a half ago.

It was very interesting to watch the three days of testimony. Rich Aicardi admitted to police he threw haymaker punches at the Yale students. Brian Dwyer admitted he kicked one of them while the singer was on the ground. However, prosecutors could not tie the defendants to the serious injuries suffered by one of the Yale students.

There were tears of relief from 20-year-old Rich Aicardi as the judge dropped two counts of felony assault and battery and reduced a third to a misdemeanor. The judge also threw out the two felony counts against 20-year-old Brian Dwyer.

"He does admit kicking somebody, he's certainly not proud of that, but the fact is this was a melee, it was a mess, and Mr. Dwyer, like everyone else in there isn't proud of their involvement on this fight, but he did not commit any acts that were criminal or felonious in any way," said Dwyer's defense attorney Tony Brass.

"The judge found there wasn't sufficient evidence that they did anything, that's what happened here, there's not sufficient evidence, and I think you also found that the victims are not as I told you, the angels they all were portrayed to be," said Aicardi's defense attorney Jim Collins.

Prosecutor Rick Forman was unable to convince the judge that Aicardi and Dwyer punched and kicked Evan Gogel on New Year's Eve 16 months ago. He's a member of Yale's singing group, the Baker's Dozen, which came to San Francisco on their national tour.

It all came down to identifications. Gogel and two other students could not say for sure Aicardi and Dwyer attacked Gogel.

"I'm very disappointed that the brutal attack that Mr. Gogel suffered that day is at least, at this point, going unpunished," said prosecutor Rick Forman.

Lawyers for the Yale students question why prosecutors did not charge the defendants with the attack on the most seriously injured Yale student. Sharyar Aziz had his jaw broken in two places.

Aicardi admits calling his brother and friends to come to the house and take on the Yale singers.

"I think if this case had been prosecuted with all the victims in it under a theory of aiding and abetting that whoever helped start this attack, which I think was Richard Aicardi, that they're liable for everything that flowed, the ruling might have been different, but we respect the judge's ruling," said Yale students' lawyer Jim Hammer.

Rick Forman: "I can't comment on that, I'm just very disappointed in the decision today, although I do understand."

ABC7's Dan Noyes: "You understand, how so? What do you mean?"

Rick Forman: "It's a very, very difficult case, I'm going to leave it at that. Thank you."

The criminal cases are all but over. Aicardi, Dwyer and another young man from San Francisco, who were involved in the incident, still face a lawsuit filed by Sharyar Aziz.


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