The discovery of new evidence has led to a delay in the trial of the brother of former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello.
Matteo Anello faces charges he caused a disturbance in the chambers of the Falls City Council in Oct. 2007 and grabbed at the gun of the police officer who arrested him. He is charged with single counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Anello had been scheduled for a non-jury trial before City Court Judge Diane Vitello on Wednesday morning. However, Anello’s attorneys asked for a delay after revealing he obtained a videotape of the incident.
Defense attorney Joel Daniels told Vitello he had turned a copy of the tape, transferred to a DVD, over to prosecutors.
“The DVD shows Matt at the podium making his presentation before the arrest,” Daniels said. “We believe the DVD will be helpful to the defense.”
Daniels asked for a delay and a trial date in the afternoon to allow for witnesses to be called by both sides in the case.
“The case may well be tried,” Daniels told Vitello, “but we will continues to discuss (plea deals) with (the prosecutors).”
In the past, Anello has steadfastly insisted he will defend himself in court. Asked about the likelihood a deal could be made, Daniels said, “We can’t rule it out.”
Anello, 59, has been free on his own recognizance since just shortly after his arrest.
The then mayor’s brother was attempting to speak to the council during a public comment session when he charged that three different people had told him that City Councilman Robert Anderson had made inappropriate remarks about him being Italian.
Almost immediately, council members called for Anello to stop talking, when he refused to stop, a Falls police officer on duty at the meeting, stepped up and asked him to leave the chambers.
Anello persisted, claiming he had the right to speak at a public meeting. As the officer tried to get him to leave, Anello placed his hand on the officer’s service weapon.
The officer then ordered Anello to let go before grabbing him from under his arm and pulling him away from the podium. Anello then began yelling he had a physical condition that prevented him from moving quickly and asked if he could retrieve his coat before leaving.
He was finally handcuffed and removed from the chambers. Anello has denied trying to take the officer’s gun.
“I did not intentionally try to touch or take his gun. It was an accident,” Anello said. “I had no interest in his gun.”
Daniels said Anello’s arrest had “serious First Amendment implications.”