Jury begins deliberations in the CDTA bus assault trial

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The trial of two former UAlbany students accused of assault and falsely reporting a racial attack on a CDTA bus last year is now in the hands of a jury.

The prosecution and defense had their last chance to convince jurors about whether this was a case about racism, the women acting in self-defense or just a huge lie.

In their summation, the defense insisted that Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell never lied when they made this 911 call.

“We were jumped by a bunch of boys and called the N-word.”

Their attorneys said UAlbany police were biased, asking all the wrong questions when investigating the now notorious incident on a CDTA bus back on January 31, 2016.

Attorney Frederick Brewington said they focused too much on whether the N-word was used and “refused other terms as being viable race-based statements.”

Demeaning words such as “Ratchet Bitches”, Ratchet meaning ghetto, which Asha and Ariel claim they were called before being beaten by the young men on the bus. Ariel’s extensions were even ripped out.

Ariel’s attorney said of the assault charges against his client, “there’s more than enough reasonable doubt to fill a 60-foot long CDTA bus from front to back.”

He concluded that the prosecution’s witnesses were given a free pass on underage drinking charges in exchange for their dubious testimony.

Assistant DA David Rossi agreed that there was a “racial aspect to this case” but went on to say that “we are here because they engaged in a campaign of deceit”

He pointed to Burwell’s series of tweets claiming she was victimized, inciting a wave of outrage and the rally days later.

He said all the real proof was captured by cameras inside the bus.

The jury was shown clips where the two alleged victims never got out of their seats as the defendants claimed. And then showed various angles where Ariel was seen crossing the aisle to get to one drunken passenger whom she claimed had called her names. Rossi also showed video clips of Asha climbing on a seat and then landing a punch on another girl’s face.

He said at no time did any of the young men fight with the women but instead tried to break them up.

A third woman Alexis Briggs accepted a plea deal of disorderly conduct.

Ariel and Asha were offered similar deals in exchange for a public apology but decided not to take it.

They could face jail time if found guilty.

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