ELLSWORTH — A Gouldsboro man convicted of sodomizing his wife was granted a new trial Monday because of statements a prosecutor made during her closing arguments about the estranged couple’s child custody fight.
A jury convicted Vladek Filler in January of one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of assault. The jury found him not guilty of four additional counts of gross sexual assault.
Filler, 39, will be retried on the three charges he was convicted on.
Defense attorney Daniel Pileggi of the Ellsworth firm Roy, Beardsley, Williams and Granger alleges that his client was denied due process and a fair trial.
Filler and his wife were engaged in a child custody fight during the times his wife alleges she was assaulted. The court did not allow evidence of the custody dispute during the trial.
“ … As a result of the court’s efforts to sanitize the criminal proceeding, Mr. Filler was deprived of the opportunity to present to the jury a complete picture of the relationship, and a context for Mrs. Filler’s allegations,” the defense attorney stated.
Hancock County Superior Court Justice Kevin M. Cuddy stated in his decision that during the trial, the court excluded from evidence facts relating to the child custody dispute that was pending during the time of the alleged criminal conduct.
Cuddy stated that one of the major points of the prosecution in its closing argument was on this missing evidence of the child custody dispute on behalf of the defendant.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett said she is in the process of working with the attorney general’s office to deal with the judge’s decision. The attorney general must approve any prosecutorial appeal.
If the attorney general agrees to let the prosecutor appeal the judge’s decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court would hear the appeal.
Gross sexual assault is a Class A felony, which carries a maximum possible prison sentence of 30 years.
The court has not yet set a date for Filler’s new trial.