CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Each side began shaping their narratives on Tuesday in the trial of North Royalton Police Officer Steve Zahursky, who is on trial for perjury, tampering with evidence, and falsification.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19 each side made opening statements after selection of a 10 women, two man jury.
During the opening statements the lawyers for each side argued about the admission of a videotape that appears to contradict an officers account of a charge.
In his sworn trial testimony in Parma Municipal Court last year regarding the police report Zahursky said Austin Smith Skinner was slurring his words, appeared unsteady and glassy-eyed.
After watching a cell phone video the judge cleared Smith Skinner. But, he did something else. He sent the case to prosecutors to review if the testimony was perjury.
The cell phone video that Smith Skinner took while doing sobriety tests shows no slurring.
He had a bit of an attitude but performed sobriety tests pretty well, however Zahursky didn’t think so and cited him, making reference to him slurring his words 27 times in the report.
Attorney Anthony Manning tried the OVI case, challenging Zahursky’s account of things.
“It’s the same routine. It’s the same routine. Almost like a template that he fills out. Exactly.” he told 19 News after Zahursky was indicted.
The video is core to the charges.
Zahursky’s attorneys wanted the video thrown out, because it was a copy and they were unable to view it on the phone that took it.
They feared it could be doctored.
“It would be important to see that entire video to know what preceded it and what the importance is. If it exists,” attorney Henry Hilow told the court.
Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold listened to both sides and decided to watch the video herself. It didn’t take her long to decide.
“There’s nothing to indicate to the court by the showing of the tape that the video had been altered or was not in it’s original form.” was her decision, rejecting a motion to throw the case out.