TRT: ANSORGE WINS ON APPEAL
The Two River Times reports this week that publisher and advertising executive Claudia Ansorge has won a reversal of her DWI conviction.
Superior Court Judge Paul Chaiet, sitting in Freehold, ruled from the bench on Wednesday that the state had not made its case beyond a reasonable doubt when Red Bank Court Judge William Himelman found Ansorge guilty of driving while intoxicated in an April, 2006 accident that resulted in the death of a Riverview Medical Center employee.
From the report, by the TRT’s John Burton:
“You can’t find her guilty simply because there was an accident,” Chaiet said. Given the evidence, including a review of the videotaped interview of Ansorge taken that night [by police], “This court cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt she violated the statute,” concerning drunk driving, Chaiet ruled.
Ansorge’s appeal lawyer, Chuck Moriarty of Red Bank, tells redbankgreen that the appeal hinged largely on Himelman’s finding that the victim, Robert Lisowsky, had likely been crossing East Front Street from south to north when he was struck by Ansorge’s vehicle near the intersection of Globe Court.
There were no witnesses to the accident, but Himelman surmised that Ansorge would had to have seen Lisowsky cross almost the width of her westbound car before she hit him; and the fact that she hit him indicated that she must have been over the legal limit.
But Moriarty maintains there was no physical evidence whatsoever that Lisowsky was going from south to north, and that evidence not admitted at the January trial suggested Lisowsky had a habit of going to the Globe Hotel sports bar around 7:30 most nights, having a few drinks, leaving the bar across East Front, and then returning around 9p for more drinks.
In fact, says Moriarty, a bartender at the Globe Hotel gave a statement, never admitted at trial, that Lisowsky had been in the bar earlier that evening.
Lisowsky’s blood alcohol content, which was also not admitted at the trial, was .15 percent, almost twice the legal limit of intoxication of .08 percent, Moriarty says. Ansorge’s, according to police, was .081; her own expert testified she was at .079 percent.
“It was a question of where he was coming from” and whether he might have been seen by Ansorge, Moriarty said. “Our argument was that he was clearly coming from [the north] side.”
In all other respects, Moriarty argued, Ansorge’s driving was “perfect.” Police found no evidence that she’d been speeding, and the driver of the car behind her at the time of the accident testified there was no evidence of weaving or erratic driving.
Ansorge, Moriarty said, is relieved by the ruling.
“It was killing her that someone believed that she could have done something to prevent the accident,” he said.
Ansorge co-founded the Two River Times and sold her stake in it in 1996. She now publishes Red Bank Red Hot magazine and the Red Bank Tipsheet, and runs and advertising firm called Ansorge Unlimited.