Acquittal in Laura Bush heckling case

June 17, 2009 at 2:39 PM
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NEW YORK, June 17 (UPI) -- A New York jury has acquitted a 24-year-old man accused of heckling Laura and Jenna Bush and assailing a wheelchair-bound teenager and her family.

The New York Post reported Wednesday a Manhattan Criminal Court jury acquitted Gary Talis Tuesday on assault charges stemming from an April 2008 incident in which Talis allegedly attacked a family following a New York appearance by the wife and daughter of then-U.S. President George W. Bush. The Bushes were in New York to talk about their children's book, "Read All About It."

Authorities had accused Talis of shouting obscenities at the Bushes before attacking John Lovetro's family at the event.

Lovetro testified against Talis during his trial, as did Lovetro's daughter and wife Wendy. The Post said several New York police officers and one Secret Service agent also offered testimony against Talis.

At the time of the incident, the Post reported Talis allegedly started punching Maureen Lovetro, who has cerebral palsy, on the shoulder blades after John Lovetro told him to shut up. When the father pushed her wheelchair away, Talis allegedly reached past him to strike her on the thigh.

The two men then allegedly fought as the Bushes drove off.

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