ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Gouldsboro man convicted in January of sexually assaulting his wife will get a new trial after a judge ruled that the prosecutor prejudiced the jury during closing arguments.
A jury found Vladek Filler, 39, guilty of one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor assault after a four-day trail and nearly nine hours of deliberation. He was acquitted on four additional counts of gross sexual assault.
Hancock County Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy accepted the jury’s verdict on Jan. 15, but Filler’s attorney, Daniel Pileggi, filed a motion for a new trial shortly after the trial.
Pileggi claimed the jurors in Filler’s case were prejudiced by Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett’s statements during her closing arguments about things that were deemed off limits at the trial’s outset.
Filler and his wife are in the middle of a child custody dispute, but Cuddy did not allow any evidence of that dispute during the man’s rape trial. Pileggi said if he knew Kellett was going to reference the child custody case, he would have told his client’s side of the story as well.
“As a result of the court’s effort to sanitize the criminal proceeding, Mr. Filler was deprived of the opportunity to present the jury a complete picture of the relationship, and a context for Mrs. Filler’s allegation,” Pileggi wrote in his motion.
Cuddy, in his ruling on the motion dated March 5, agreed.
“The focus of the state’s arguments were on facts not presented by the defendant as a result of rulings by the court during the trial, thereby creating the high likelihood of unfairly prejudicing the defendant in the eyes of the jury,” Cuddy concluded.
Filler was charged in April 2007 after his wife alerted police of an alleged assault. The woman claimed her husband became angry with her and forced her to perform a sex act. She further alleged Filler assaulted her often and she even kept a journal of the assaults.
The new trial will be scheduled for a later date, Pileggi said, although Filler will face only the three charges on which he was convicted.