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Attorneys for Vasile Graure opened and rested their case this afternoon in the case of last year’s fire at Glover Park strip club Good Guys. After calling five witnesses to the stand—-including two employees of the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia and three MPD officers—-Judge Robert Richter asked Graure if he’d like to testify on his own behalf. Andrew Ferguson and Premal Dharia shook their heads no. “No,” Graure responded. Richter asked if he was sure. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and so far, I say no, I can’t decide,” said Graure.

Richter told Graure that the time to decide was now—-and that the decision was his alone. “In case this goes badly for you, I don’t want you to complain that you were forced to testify, or that you wanted to testify and they wouldn’t let you,” said Richter. “If Ms. Dharia says, ‘The defense rests,’ and you decide you want to testify, signal me,” he said.

After all witnesses for the defense and the prosecution testified, Ferguson and Dharia took a final five minute break with Graure, outside the courtroom. When they returned, Graure said that he would not testify.

“Is that your decision?” Richter said.

“That’s my final answer,” said Graure.