After a series of "twists and turns" that began Tuesday afternoon, the judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in Calcagno v. Springfield, just before the case was to be sent to the jury. The judge has reportedly given both sides 90 days to investigate dramatic new evidence relating to the night that Vicki Calcagno claims Rick Springfield "struck her with his buttocks" during a 2004 concert.
Springfield, who is best known for the 1981 hit "Jessie's Girl," and now possibly for his buttocks, was performing at the New York State Fair when the incident allegedly occurred. Springfield's act included segments in which he entered the seating area and interacted with fans. Calcagno alleges that during one of these segments, Springfield contacted her with his buttocks and knocked her down, causing significant injuries.
Her evidence included a photo of the alleged weapon[s], which she claims to have taken just before she was knocked out:
As Rick Springfield's case in Syracuse nears jury deliberations, his buttocks has [have?] emerged as the weapon[s] accused of causing "serious, disabling and permanent injuries" to a Liverpool woman during a 2004 State Fair concert.
A photo, reportedly of Springfield's buttocks, was shown to the jury during the entertainer's testimony Tuesday.
When asked whose buttocks was [were?] shown in the photo, Springfield responded: "Possibly mine."
Tip: never admit that the buttocks shown in a photo are yours except as an absolute last resort.
Springfield did not recognize Calcagno, however, nor did he have any recollection of striking a fan, with his buttocks or otherwise, let alone of leaving one "disoriented or unconscious" for 10-30 minutes, as Calcagno testified. She claims to have "no memory" of that time.
Springfield did not deny the possibility of fan-buttock contact, nor could he. According to this review of the same 2004 concert, located by Syracuse.com, Springfield entered the seating area repeatedly that night and, according to one fan, "was really connecting with everybody." Actually, though the fans seem to have been doing most of the connecting. "Throughout the concert," the review notes, "Springfield let his fans grab his buttocks while he traversed the seating area, singing and playing his guitar amid the crowd." Evidence of recklessness, perhaps?
But Calcagno had no witnesses to back up her claim that there was any contact in her case, let alone injury. In fact, she conceded she did not leave the concert or seek medical attention at the time. But she offered medical records dated two days later stating that she had head and neck pain, muscle spasms, jaw pain, shooting pains in her left eye and right foot, insomnia, and sensitivity to bright light—all of which she now attributes to a celebrity-buttocks-induced fall.
Things started to get weird (relatively speaking) on Tuesday afternoon, when an unidentified woman called the judge to say she wanted to testify against the plaintiff. Springfield's lawyers, though, possibly feeling they did not need any help with this one, declined to call her as a witness. But later that day, Calcagno's attorney reportedly saw a comment posted on news site CNYCentral.com that corroborated his client's account. The report states that he posted his own comment asking that person to contact him, and by Wednesday morning, she (and her family) had done so.
I could not find either comment among the 150 or so posted about this case on CNYCentral, comments that I would estimate ran about 99% in favor of Springfield. Some of the commenters do claim to have been at the show—and one commenter kept popping up to ask those people if they would be willing to testify—but they all seem to be in Springfield's camp. In any event, these surprise witnesses now claim to have been standing right next to Calcagno at the time. Not only that, they got knocked down too! How about that?
What is not clear to me from any of these reports is why this last-minute nonsense was allowed to affect a trial that was almost over. Seems like the morning that deliberations are set to begin is a little late to add anyone to the witness list, no matter how you found them. But I guess when the stakes are this high, truth is all that matters. According to CNYC, the judge said he would allow the witnesses to be called and gave Springfield's attorneys 24 hours to prepare. They then objected, understandably, that this was not enough time, and asked for a mistrial. The judge agreed. Another trial, if any, is not expected to start for several months.
For those of you wondering why I haven't posted the probably-soon-to-be-infamous buttocks photo, all I can say is that I do have some standards and you people should be ashamed of yourself.
So no, I couldn't find it.
Update: in the meantime, because the internet exists of course there is a page devoted entirely to pictures of Rick Springfield's butt.