FAIRFIELD — A two-week jury trial for Fairfield brothers who faced felony assault charges and the possibility of going to prison ended Tuesday afternoon with a pair of quick acquittals.
Joshua and Jerome Brannigan were accused by a neighbor on Strauss Drive of an unprovoked attack on Saint Patrick’s Day, 2011. The fight in the driveway of the neighbor’s house erupted after the neighbor called them at the Cloud 9 Cocktail Lounge, where the brothers and the neighbor were familiar patrons.
Within minutes of the phone call, the brothers showed up at the neighbor’s house, where his video surveillance cameras recorded much of the ensuing fight.
Jurors were shown the video that showed much of the dispute, but the video did not reveal who provoked who and who threw the first blows.
Fairfield police arrested the Brannigan brothers several days after the altercation, but prosecutors declined to press charges until June 2011. The brothers each posted $25,000 bail shortly after their arrests.
The neighbor, who had obtained a restraining order against the brothers, was interviewed by police three times between the altercation and the start of the trial.
Defense attorneys for the Brannigans, Barry Newman and Thomas Maas, had the neighbor on the witness stand for two days. The veteran criminal law attorneys methodically dissected the neighbor’s claims and exposed for jurors many discrepancies and contradictions made by the neighbor in the various statements about what happened before, during and after the fight.
The neighbor repeatedly conceded that his detailed account of events described in his handwritten request for the restraining order was wrong. He explained that someone else had written up the request for the restraining order and that he had signed it without reading it.
Jurors also acquitted the brothers of possible compromise misdemeanor charges.
The Brannigan brothers embraced both Newman and Maas after the verdicts.
Legal problems for the brothers are not quite done. Jerome Brannigan is scheduled to be back in court in January for a small claims suit filed by the neighbor about the altercation.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.