Casper Businessman Tony Cercy, Prosecution Submit Rape Trial Witness Lists
Attorneys for the prosecution and defendant Casper businessman Tony Cercy named the witnesses they may call to testify when he goes on trial in February on three counts of sexual assault, but not before a judge shot down his request to keep the witness lists secret.
Cercy's attorneys wrote in their motion on Nov. 14 of their concerns about media coverage.
"The names of the anticipated witnesses should not be released to the public. Such coverage may result in potential witnesses being contacted about anticipated testimony. The Court should give serious consideration to the privacy interests of these people," they wrote.
Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey didn't buy it, although he didn't explain why.
"The court, having reviewed and considered the motion, finds that it can decide the issues raised by the motion without a hearing, and that the motion should be denied," Forgey wrote the next day.
Cercy is charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault (rape), one count of second-degree sexual assault (intrusion), and one count of sexual contact "without inflicting sexual intrusion and without causing serious bodily injury."
If convicted on all counts, he faces between seven and 85 years of imprisonment.
Court records say the alleged victim, 20, told a Natrona County Sheriff's investigator she and others arrived at Alcova Lake on the evening of June 23. The next day, they went to a residence on Cedar Drive North owned by Cercy. She said she went into the residence, passed out on a couch, woke up to find nearly all her clothing had been removed, saw Cercy was naked from the waist down and was sexually assaulting her.
According to court records, "C(ercy) made a comment to the effect of, it didn't happen the way you think it happened. C then ended the interview."
This month, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office and Cercy's attorneys filed their witness lists.
Many of the names on the lists are the same including Cercy and his family members, the alleged victim and her family members, law enforcement officers, and friends of the families.
But Cercy and his attorneys wanted both sides to file the lists under seal so people, specifically members of the media, could not see who was in them.
"There has been heavy press coverage of this case, in terms of both traditional media and on social media. It is anticipated that any public filing that includes the names of potential trial witnesses will, likewise, be covered by the media," they wrote.
Making them public could adversely affect the potential jury pool, and legal precedents exist that allow courts to seal those lists, they added.
The district attorney's office objected, and Forgey agreed with the prosecution.