Tony Cercy told jurors Tuesday he did not sexually assault a woman at his Alcova lake house this summer.
Speaking calmly, Cercy said he was asleep at the time that the woman testified the assault took place. When he woke in the morning, Cercy said, the woman was gone.
The woman previously testified that she woke at 3 a.m. on June 25 on a couch in the Casper businessman’s lake house to Cercy performing oral sex on her.
Cercy has been charged with three counts of sexual assault in the case: one each of first-, second- and third degree. Cercy pleaded not guilty in July, and his defense team has maintained throughout the trial that he did not assault the then-20-year-old woman.
When Cercy testified in his own defense Tuesday, his attorney, Pamela Mackey, finished her questioning by asking him if he had committed the assault. He looked to the jury before speaking.
“No, I did not,” he said.
Cercy said he had gone to sleep around 2 a.m. on the morning of the alleged assault and did not wake until around 8 a.m. The alleged victim had left his house at some point during the night, Cercy told jurors.
Under cross examination from District Attorney Mike Blonigen, Cercy said he did not recall accessing his phone in the early morning of the same day. A Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent later said Cercy’s phone camera had been triggered multiple times within a minute of 3:46 a.m.
Cercy takes stand
Cercy waived his right to remain silent after a mid-afternoon recess and told the judge he would testify.
Upon taking the stand, Cercy told Mackey he did not assault the woman. He then told the courtroom about his professional career and his family.
Cercy described the weekend in question as his first at the house for the year. He said he ran errands for much of June 24 before eating dinner and hosting two groups of people at the lake house.
Cercy said the alleged victim passed out on his couch. Cercy was asleep by around 2 a.m. and slept through the night, he testified. The alleged victim had left in the morning, and he saw her later in the day when she passed him on her family boat, he told jurors.
A video of the woman asleep on the couch included Cercy yelling “hottie” at her, he told jurors. Prior witnesses have identified the voice as Cercy’s.
“After hearing it now, it’s embarrassing. (I) wish we wouldn’t have done it, but we did,” he said, in an apparent reference to the other people heard shouting in the clip.
After Cercy again denied assaulting the woman, he was cross-examined by Blonigen.
During the cross-examination, Cercy said the woman was not moving when he went to bed in another room.
When a door opens in the house, Cercy’s dogs will bark “most times,” he told jurors. Cercy said he did not hear the dogs bark between 2 and 8 a.m.
The defense has argued that if an assault took place, Cercy’s dogs would have barked and woke other people in the house.
Blonigen attempted to ask a question that appeared to be related to Cercy’s health, but he did not finish his sentence before Mackey objected. Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey upheld the objection.
After Blonigen ceased his questions, the defense team declined to question Cercy further.
Cercy’s wife, a friend of the Cercys and a crime lab technician also testified as part of the defense case.
Morning marked by motions
The day’s hearings began with a pair of requests by defense attorney Jeff Pagliuca, who sought to exclude a rebuttal witness and prevent a report produced by a phone investigator from being admitted into evidence.
Forgey denied both requests, but said the witness’s testimony should be clearly confined to rebutting prior testimony that pertained to how the woman acted during the day following the alleged assault.
Blonigen was allowed to call the witness in question following the defense’s presentation of its case.
The prosecution then called its lone witness of the morning, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Ryan Hieb.
Hieb described the process he used to download the contents of Cercy’s phone and identify phone calls and text messages Cercy made on June 28, the day the alleged victim reported the alleged assault to authorities.
Pagliuca questioned the agent in another attempt to prevent a report created by Hieb from being entered into evidence. Forgey accepted the report and Pagliuca declined to cross-examine the DCI agent.
After Hieb stepped down, Blonigen rested his case.
Pagliuca then entered two motions: one requesting the judge strike two charges against the Casper businessman and one requesting the acquittal of Cercy. Forgey denied both.
The defense attorney argued the prosecution had not brought enough evidence to charge Cercy with three counts of sexual assault. He also said the three charges in the case were duplicative in nature.
In making his ruling, Forgey said the state had presented enough evidence for the jury to consider the charges. In considering Pagliuca’s characterization of the three counts as duplicative, the judge said jury instructions could be written to clearly specify the order charges should be considered in.
Blonigen had said the three charges should be considered by the jury in descending order of degree. If the jury finds Cercy not guilty on a count of first-degree sexual assault, it should then consider second-degree and third-degree charges, the prosecutor stated.
Defense presents its case
Cercy’s defense team first called Jennifer Brammeir, the state crime lab analyst who examined DNA swabs taken from the woman on June 28. Brammeir had testified earlier in the week and said Cercy’s DNA was not found on swabs taken from the woman’s body or clothing. The alleged victim had showered before swabs were taken from her body, Brammeir said earlier in the week.
She said Wednesday that testing technology would not allow her to identify if Cercy’s saliva was present on a couch cushion. She did not examine the cushion for Cercy’s DNA, she said, because she would expect it to be there because the house was in his home.
Thaddeus White, a friend of Cercy’s, then took the stand and said he spoke to both the alleged victim’s father and Cercy on June 28. The woman’s father called him and said Cercy had assaulted the woman, White testified. He then called Cercy and told him about the woman’s father’s account, White told jurors.
Caryl Cercy, Tony Cercy’s wife, then took the stand. Her husband was drunk in the hours leading up to the alleged assault, but she had “seen him worse” before. Caryl Cercy said she went to bed and was asleep by 2:30 a.m. She did not wake until around 6 a.m., and the alleged victim was gone, Caryl Cercy testified. Her dogs did not bark during the night, she testified.
After Tony Cercy testified, the defense rested its case.
Closing arguments and jury instructions are set for 10 a.m. Wednesday.