The six person jury in the trial of Christopher Carter – the stockbroker accused of assaulting an overly vocal spin classmate at Equinox gym – found him not guilty yesterday of a misdemeanor assault charge which could have landed him in jail for a year. Though the victim, hedge fund manager Stuart Sugarman, spent almost two weeks in the hospital undergoing surgery for a herniated disc, the jury remained unconvinced that his injuries resulted from the incident.
In talking to reporters after the trial, 20-year-old sociology student and juror Marybeth Roman said Sugarman “just wasn't credible. He just wasn't believable. He was a huge liar.” It didn’t help when Sugarman’s own spine surgeon testified that he could have gotten the herniation any time in the previous month, but Sugarman’s credibility was also cast into doubt when he testified that his loud cries of “You go girl!” and “Good burn!” during spin class were “normal.”
The jury also doubted that his pain could be so “excruciating” if he was able to get back up on his exercise bike and finish class. In her closing argument, assistant D.A. Brigid Harrington seemed to sense the jury’s disdain for Sugarman, telling them while he was not someone “you would want to hang out with regularly,” the rules of society prohibit roughing up annoying people.
While Carter's lawyer applauded the decision, Sugarman’s lawyer vowed to move forward with a civil lawsuit against Carter and the gym, remarking that “the short-term message is sometimes you can get away with assaulting somebody who’s annoying. It is still an incredible coincidence that this massive disc herniation was something he was just walking around with before this class started.”