By Steve Plunkett
Defense attorneys for onetime Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Richard Lucibella will be able to tell jurors in his January felony trial that he is 65 years old.
Judge Daliah Weiss on Oct. 12 denied prosecutor Danielle Grundt’s motion to bar any references to Lucibella’s age. “Any such reference would only serve to inflame the jury and suggest [an] improper basis for its verdict,” Grundt unsuccessfully argued.
Weiss granted Grundt’s request to not allow expert witnesses to testify on legal standards for probable cause, but reserved her rulings until the trial on requests to limit expert testimony that critiques the police investigation or focuses on an issue that is “within the realm of a common layperson’s understanding.”
She also reserved rulings on whether the defense can argue the search of Lucibella’s home was unlawful or the arrest was invalid.
Lucibella is charged with battery on an Ocean Ridge police officer and resisting arrest with violence, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of using a firearm while intoxicated. The charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.
The trial is scheduled to open Jan. 28.
Meanwhile, the insurance company lawyers representing Lucibella in a related civil lawsuit withdrew from the case Oct. 10, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Nubia Plesnik, one of the arresting officers, is suing Lucibella for battery and negligence during the course of the arrest.
Lucibella, who has a $10 million umbrella liability policy, is chief executive of a multimillion-dollar Medicare shared savings group and publishes a magazine for gun aficionados.
Plesnik’s lawyer filed notice of a “proposal for settlement” of the lawsuit on Aug. 31. Lucibella’s lawyers filed their motion to withdraw two weeks later.
Police went to the backyard of Lucibella’s beachfront home Oct. 22, 2016, after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. He resigned from the Town Commission that December.
Dan Moffett contributed to this story.