Trial begins for off-duty Border Patrol agents accused of public sex acts at Cirque du Soleil
Alleged incident happened at dircus performance
Last Updated: 104 days ago
VISTA, Calif. - Testimony began Monday in the trial of two off-duty Border Patrol agents accused of committing sex acts in public, and then beating up a woman who told them to "get a room."
Kallie Helwig, 25, and 35-year old Gerald Torello face misdemeanor charges of committing a lewd act in public, annoying children and making a death threat. Helwig also faces a charge of simple battery.
During opening arguments, Torello's defense attorney, Richard Muir cautioned the jury to listen carefully to all the testimony before making any conclusions. He claimed the Border Patrol agents will tell a much different story than the alleged victim in the case, Dr. Chai Wu.
Wu testified that she, her husband and another female doctor got tickets to see Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last May so they could celebrate her husband's birthday.
Wu testified that during intermission, she and her friend noticed a couple near the bench where they were sitting kissing, and then they saw the woman sit down facing the man, tugging on his belt and putting her hands in his pants. Wu said she was "incredulous," but soon they returned to their seats.
When they got there, they realized the same couple was sitting in front of them.
"They were kissing and groping and just arms and legs everywhere, and again, I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'" said Wu.
Wu said she tried to ignore the couple, but it was impossible because they kept bumping into her husband. Finally, her husband spoke to the man, according to Wu.
"I heard him lean back and say to the guy, 'Are you enjoying the show?' And then I hear the guy say yes," Wu recounted. "No shame, no stopping, no consideration whatsoever. And I got more and more aggravated and upset and so then I lean over and I said, 'Maybe you guys should go get a room.'"
Wu told the court that people around them were beginning to notice, and some left their seats as the woman's head was face-down in the man's lap, moving rhythmically. That was when Wu claimed she told the couple to "get a room."
At one point, Wu said that two small children in the row ahead of the couple turned to see what all the commotion was about, and that's when Wu claims Torello gave the little boy a high five.
Wu claims that when the boy's father asked the woman to stop what she was doing, Torello responded by saying, "Talk to her like that again and I'll kill you."
After the circus performance was over, Wu testified that Torello and Helwig left quickly, but were waiting for her. Wu claimed Helwig was punching the air as she approached, and that Torello could be heard saying, "You can take her, hon, I've got your back."
Wu said that Helwig punched her several times, and photos of her injuries were shown in court. Wu admitted she pulled Helwig's hair "so that she couldn't get in any more full swings at me."
Defense attorneys tried to poke holes in Wu's story, questioning why her written account on the night of the incident left out some of the detail she shared in court.
Cross-examination will continue Tuesday, and then Wu's husband is set to take the stand.
Both Helwig and Torello are also expected to testify in their defense.
The trial is expected to take most of the week.
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