ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Two former UAlbany students were sentenced for their role in the CDTA bus assault on Friday.
Cheers of support echoed throughout the Albany County Courthouse after former UAlbany students Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio learned that they were sentenced to three years’ probation and 200 hours of community service for falsely reporting an incident on a CDTA bus.
They made claims that they were victims of a racially motivated hate crime and allegedly beat up by a group of boys.
“I’ve seen the video. The jurors saw the video all the videos from the bus what occurred on that bus is nothing close to what you reported Ms. Agudio and you reported Ms. Burwell as to what happened on that bus,” Judge Roger McDonough said.
Assistant Albany County DA David Rossi had this to say after asking the women to apologize for lying multiple times.
“I just think it’s unfortunate that these young ladies chose criminal convictions rather than telling the truth and apologizing. This case was never about sentencing or punishment for us. It was about exposing the lie and vindicating the truth and that’s what we’ve done,” Rossi said.
Both women did speak when given their chance at the sentencing hearing.
“I sincerely hope to express that I did not seek to harm anyone. Many things happened on that bus that should not have happened,” Burwell said.
“Everything I had to say in my letter is still how I feel and that I’m thankful that you read the letter,” Agudio said.
Both women’s attorneys say they believe they were victims of a racial incident.
“The fact of the matter is that terms that were derogatory in nature that were racial in nature were clearly stated on that video,” Frederick Brewington, Attorney for Burwell, said.
“Ms. Agudio and Ms. Burwell were prosecuted, brought to trial and convicted, and now sentenced because they dared to say that they experienced a racial incident,” Mark Mishler, Attorney for Agudio,s aid.
“If there were three white girls on that bus with a bus load of black people and they were drunk and disorderly do you for one second think we would be here right now?” Carlton Agudio, Ariel’s father, said.