Egremont man cleared on most-serious drug charges

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PITTSFIELD >> Guilty verdicts for drug possession prompted tears of relief and warm embraces on Tuesday after an Egremont man was acquitted of more serious charges.

Michael Consolini, 21, was convicted of one count each of possession of cocaine, possession of hashish and possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

But the Berkshire County Jury of Six — five women and one man — found him not guilty of possession with intent to distribute and committing a drug violation in a public park.

Consolini's attorney, Lori Levinson declined comment after the reading of the verdict except to say, "We are so relieved."

Jurors deliberated for about an hour Monday and reached their verdict about noon Tuesday.

The possession convictions came as little surprise — Consolini already had admitted having drugs and paraphernalia when he was arrested May 1, 2013, at French Park in Egremont.

Judge Michael Ripps sentenced Consolini to one year of probation, during which time he must remain drug free and submit to random screenings.

Levinson asked Ripps to consider not imposing the probation, noting her client had basically been on probation and remained out of trouble and drug-free for over two years while awaiting trial.

Prosecutors alleged the drugs Consolini was carrying, including six grams of cocaine, along with small plastic baggies and digital scales, were evidence he was selling drugs.

Consolini testified he had developed a 2-gram-a-day cocaine habit and purchased drugs in bulk to save money and packaged them in smaller bundles for his own daily use.

The case languished in Central Berkshire District Court for more than two years, delayed in part by the discovery that a pair of part-time Egremont Police officers had gained unauthorized access to the locker containing evidence in the case.

The officers were disciplined, but not fired, and an internal investigation determined none of the sealed evidence bags had been tampered with.

After the verdict, Levinson mouthed a silent, "Thank you," to the jurors before they left the courtroom.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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