Former U Albany students in court for pre-trial hearings

ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) – A suppression hearing in the case of two of the women who are accused of lying about a racial incident on a CDTA bus was held on Friday.

Ariel Agudio, Aisha Bburwell, and Alexis Briggs, all students at UAlbany, reported the incident on the bus and later when surveillance video came out they were accused of lying about the incident. They are accused of being the attackers in the altercation.

Burwell and Agudio appeared for a suppression hearing Friday morning.

So far, four witnesses have taken the stand. One was an Albany police officer who responded the night the three women reported the alleged attack. Another was an Albany detective who followed up with the case the next day, a UAlbany police department lieutenant who responded to the initial report from the women as well as concerns over social media posts, and a UAlbany police investigator who questioned the women at the university police department.

The assistant DA was objecting to many of the questions brought up by both defense attorneys.

Some of those questions were about other students who were interviewed about the case, what kind of training officers go through in regards to a request for a lawyer, and if there was any intent to arrest the women.

The judge sustaining most of those objections saying many of the questions were outside of what the scope of what the hearing is about.

The hearing is determining what evidence can be used in the trial.

The courtroom was packed with family and supporters. Some of those supporters, as court broke for lunch, tried to shield both Agudio and Burwell as they left with their jackets wearing lime green duct tape on their arms as a sign of solidarity.

“These issues are very complex. One of the things that clear is that there was a point in time before these young ladies were questioned and before they took statements from them where they said they wanted lawyers,” Frederick Brewington, Defense Attorney for Asha Burwell, said. “Frustration is not part of the lay of the land at this time. As of right now what we’re doing is focusing on looking for some justice in this case and that’s what we’re seeking to explore.”

The courtroom atmosphere is very tense. The judge and both defense attorneys seem pretty frustrated while the ADA is staying patient and continuing his objections.

There was an issue raised about changing the venue of the case at the very end of the hearing, but that was not ruled on.

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