This is the week when most of those who work at the courthouse will be closely following the trial of well-known Norristown defense lawyer Vincent Cirillo Jr., who is accused of raping a female client.
Cirillo, 56, is a familiar face at the courthouse, appearing in one courtroom or another, representing clients in both the criminal and civil arena, on nearly a daily basis. Cirillo’s legal troubles are all anyone has talked about in the close-knit courthouse community for months.
The trial gets under way on Tuesday with jury selection before Judge Steven T. O’Neill. The judge has summoned about 100 jurors and the selection process will occur in Courtroom B. It will be interesting to see how many prospective jurors are familiar with the Cirillo name and defense lawyer Nino V. Tinari does have a pending request for a change of venue in the event it’s determined a fair and impartial jury can’t be selected.
The Cirillo name is well-cemented in Montgomery County’s political and judicial landscape. Cirillo is the son of the late Vincent A. Cirillo, a former Lower Merion commissioner, county prosecutor and judge who went on to be president judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court from 1986 to 1990. The elder Cirillo retired from the state bench in 1997 and died at the age of 72 in November 2000.
|Vincent Cirillo Jr./Mugshot Provided by Montco DA|
Cirillo, who listed addresses in Lower Merion and Narberth, faces charges of rape of an unconscious victim, rape of an impaired person, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault and making false statements to authorities in connection with allegations he sexually assaulted an impaired female client he had been representing in a civil matter on Aug. 3, 2015, at the woman’s West Norriton residence.
From the start, Cirillo vowed to fight the charges. After his arrest in August 2015 he stated to me, “My response is my side of the story has not come out yet. It will in due course and I fully intend on defending, fighting these allegations.”
|Montco Judge Steven T. O'Neill will preside over trial|
Everyone is left wondering, “Will he or won’t he testify at his trial?”
That trial should offer some moments of high drama. Assistant District Attorney M. Stewart Ryan won court approval last week to show jurors cellphone photos he maintains link Cirillo to the alleged rape.
In arrest documents, detectives alleged Cirillo photographed the woman in her bed over a 25-minute period during and after the sexual assault. Investigators seized seven digital photos from Cirillo’s phone and alleged the underwear clad woman “appears to be completely unconscious,” court papers indicate.
The jury is also likely to hear a recording of an Aug. 8, 2015, intercepted conversation between the defendant and the alleged victim. Prosecutors contend the recording offers incriminating evidence against Cirillo.
|Montco Prosecutor M. Stewart Ryan is prosecuting Cirillo|
In another twist in the case, Cirillo was free on bail on the rape charges when he was arrested on new charges about two weeks ago after he allegedly illegally posed as the alleged rape victim’s current lawyer to attempt to obtain confidential civil court documents pertaining to her from the Montgomery County Domestic Relations Office.
Cirillo has a preliminary hearing on the new charges now scheduled for Nov. 18. The new charges will not be considered by the jury that is selected on Tuesday in connection with the rape allegations.
Mr. Everybody’s Business will follow the trial from start to finish. Watch for my daily reports in The Mercury, The Times Herald and The Reporter. And stay connected to @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter for the latest trial revelations.