Moments ago in D.C. Superior Court’s Room 218, Judge Jennifer Anderson dismissed a motion brought by the attorney for Harold Brazil to acquit the councilmember on the misdemeanor assault charges against him. G. Allen Dale argued that there wasn’t enough evidence in the day’s testimony to convict the former lawmaker.
That testimony came from Jinx Proof tattoo parlor manager Francis Peyton, as well as tattoo artist Eric Doyle. Both gave their respective accounts of the action inside the parlor on the night of Oct. 9, 2008, when Brazil entered Jinx Proof along with two women, one of whom was in the market for a tattoo. After she went to the back of the store, the other woman attempted to make her way to the tattooing area but was told to stay out front. Brazil then attempted to intervene and got in a fight with Peyton, Doyle, and one other store employee.
Brazil says he was called a “nigger” just prior to the fight; Peyton denies ever having used an epithet and Doyle, in his testimony, said he never heard anything racial.
Interesting twist in the case: Both Doyle and Peyton, though witnesses for the prosecution, were not eager to come forth and had to be subpoenaed to give their accounts in trial. On the stand, they both made comments to the effect that, hey, no one got hurt in the incident, so what’s the point of dragging everyone through this mess?
Clearly that’s not how prosecutors roll.
So, what’s the likely impact of the witnesses’ nonchalance about the charges? Says on-the-scene Loose Lips reporter Mike DeBonis: “It lends more credibility to the testimony that they give.”
The latest tack for the defense is to throw a character witness on the stand for Brazil. The Rev. Dr. Judith Talbert, pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Prayer Church for All People, noted that she’d known the defendant for 13 years and had found him “very compassionate.”
Reporting by Mike DeBonis