Attorneys Push Back Against New Charges In Penn State Frat Death

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HARRISBURG (KDKA/AP) – Attorneys for some of the Penn State University fraternity members accused of new counts in the death of a teenage pledge are pushing back.

Attorney Rocco Cipparone Jr. represents fraternity member Michael Bonatucci. The attorney said Monday he hopes the next district attorney will re-examine “the charging decisions that have been made.”

Prosecutors say newly recovered security camera footage from inside the fraternity house shows Beta Theta Pi pledge Tim Piazza was given at least 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller has charged 10 new defendants, reinstated charges against people whose cases had been dropped and added counts against people previously charged. She is leaving office at the end of the year.

“These charges came out of the blue,” attorney Bill Brennan told KYW-TV in Philadelphia Monday night.

Brennan represents Joseph Ems. Charges against Ems were dismissed after a preliminary hearing in September. Ems is now facing new charges.

“(The) case was thrown out, and a lame duck D.A. doubles down as she’s on her way out the door and and charges 12 new frat brothers,” Brennan said.

Brennan said they will fight the new charges.

“We’re not happy about this. We’ll put the gloves back on and fight it again and hopefully, successfully defend it again,” Brennan said. “My aggressive approach to defending my client is not meant any disrespect to the decedent, or his family. I pray for that young man every day. So does the Ems family.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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