BUFFALO, NY- The manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti took a break Wednesday and is entering Day 13 Thursday. Two On Your Side spoke to prosecution and defense experts to find out what's ahead at this pivotal time as the prosecution prepares to rest and the defendant prepares to take the stand.
"We're waiting for it. The jury is waiting for it. Everybody is waiting for it," said Former Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark referring to when Dr. James Corasanti himself will take the stand.
Corasanti was charged with manslaughter, evidence tampering, and leaving the scene after he struck and killed Alexandria Rice on Heim Road in Amherst in July.
But before Corasanti takes the stand, as his attorney Joel Daniels promised he would during opening statement, the prosecution has one final witness to call before it wraps up its case. Prosecutor James Bargnesi told 2 On Your Side that witness is a DNA expert.
Defense attorney Mike Taheri said there is a reason that witness was left for last.
"I'm sure they feel this is a compelling witness and an important witness because they're going to want to end on a high note," Taheri said.
To be convicted of manslaughter, Clark said the prosecution has to prove Corasanti was intoxicated, disengaged from the whole driving process, and was aware that hit the 18-year-old and still left the scene.
"I think they certainly have put in an awful lot of proof which is awfully compelling on all of those three issues," said Clark.
After the prosecution rests, Taheri said the public can expect Corasanti's defense team to ask the judge to dismiss some or all of the charges.
"If the prosecution has failed, the judge would dismiss certain counts where they say there's not even enough evidence to go the jury on these charges. It's doubtful in this case," said Taheri.
Both agree, when Corasanti takes the stand, he's got to be truthful, sincere and believable, because no one has heard from him until now.
"He can't come up with some cock and bull story that all of us just go, 'come on!,'" said Clark."If somebody does become so naturally choked up with emotion during their testimony that they break down, that's very believable, and that can be helpful, in terms of whether a jury believes you or doesn't. But if you try to fake something, you're a cooked goose."
"He has to be consistent. His version of what happened that night has to be consistent with the evidence that's been brought into the case," said Taheri.
The jury will decide whether to acquit Corasanti on all the charges in the indictment or find him guilty of every charge or some of them.
In addition to Corasanti, Two On Your Side has learned the defense may call as many as five expert witnesses to testify, but that could change. Both Clark and Teheri suspect Corasanti will be the final defense witness. Testimony will resume Thursday at 10 a-m.