A prominent Casper businessman accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious 20-year-old at an Alcova lake house is set to stand trial Friday.
Tony Cercy’s trial on a single count of third-degree sexual assault will be held in Hot Springs County. The trial, which was moved from Natrona County over concerns about seating an impartial jury, is scheduled to last eight days.
A jury acquitted Cercy in February of two other counts of sexual assault but could not come to a decision on the third charge, which prosecutor Michael Blonigen filed again, prompting the new proceedings.
Cercy told jurors in February he did not have sexual contact with the woman. He remains free on a $100,000 cash bond.
Natrona County sheriff’s deputies arrested Cercy in late July 2017, approximately a month after the woman went to authorities. Prosecutors then charged him with one count each of first-, second- and third-degree sexual assault.
At the February proceedings, Denver attorneys Jeff Pagliuca and Pamela Mackey represented Cercy alongside local lawyer Ian Sandefer. Blonigen, who is set to retire in the new year, is the sole prosecutor handling the case.
During the first trial, which lasted six days, the alleged victim told jurors that she woke to Cercy performing oral sex on her on a couch in his Alcova lake house. She described pushing Cercy away immediately and testified that Cercy said he had been trying to wake her by performing sexual acts on her.
She testified that she fell asleep fully clothed but woke with only a bra on. She said Cercy was naked from the waist down. The woman told authorities that Cercy threatened to kill her if she told anybody about the incident.
Cercy also testified in February. He denied having any sexual contact with the woman. He told jurors that he was asleep at the time the woman alleged he’d sexually assaulted her.
Defense attorneys suggested the alleged victim fabricated the story of the assault after a fight with her then-boyfriend.
Following the jury’s partial verdict, Blonigen again filed the third-degree charge.
In April, Cercy appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court, asking for his case to be dismissed. The court declined to hear his argument.
In June, Judge Daniel Forgey moved the case to Thermopolis in an attempt to more easily seat an impartial jury. He cited detailed accounts of witness testimony and a partial jury verdict at Cercy’s first trial, as well as District Attorney Michael Blonigen’s statement that the jury was strongly in favor of convicting Cercy.
This summer, the prosecution introduced new evidence it says “directly refutes” Cercy’s trial testimony. Law enforcement used an updated software program to pull information from Cercy’s phone. The new data indicates Cercy was walking around during the time he testified to be asleep, Blonigen says.
Cercy’s attorneys requested in October the dismissal of the final count, citing his his Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy. This week, Forgey denied the request and Cercy again appealed to the state’s highest court.
The Wyoming Supreme Court declined to rule on Cercy’s request Wednesday, writing that it would give the Attorney General’s Office time to respond.