The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
In its article “Recreating a Crucial Signing at the Astor Trial,” The New York Times is reporting that Xhiljola Ruci, a Trial Preparation Assistant for the New York County District Attorney, was used as “human prop” last week during critical testimony which occurred during the Manhattan Supreme Court trial of socialite Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall. Marshall and estate attorney, Francis X. Morrissey, are on trial for allegedly taking advantage of Astor’s diminished mental capacity to change her will, leaving millions to Marshall that was intended for charity.
Pearline Noble, one of Astor’s nurses, testified that she was with Astor the day that she was asked to bring her to library of her home to sign the codicil which bequeathed the bulk of her fortune to Marshall. Using Ruci as a stand-in for Astor, Noble showed the court how she physically supported the frail 101-year old Astor to help her to the library. Noble testified that when she got there, Marshall and Morrisey grabbed both of the recalcitrant Astor’s hands and pulled her into the library, “dragging her legs”.
While supporting attorneys at trial is often an invisible role for paralegals, Ruci can definitely tell her grandchildren about being used as a demonstrative exhibit during explosive testimony in the high profile Astor trial.