SPRING HILL — One day in May, Anton Angelo took the stand in a Hernando County courtroom and testified that he took photos used as evidence in the trial of his fiancee Tai-Ling Gigliotti, who was accused of beating her teenage nephew and periodically locking him in a bathroom at the couple's Spring Hill home.
Angelo lied that day, the state attorney's office now says.
Angelo, 47, knowingly made false statements on May 6 when he testified that he took the photos, according to an arrest warrant. He was arrested Monday on one count of perjury in an official proceeding and one count of violating probation.
Angelo was denied bond for the violation-of-probation charge and on Monday was being held in the Hernando County Jail.
Before Gigliotti's trial, Angelo reached a plea deal instead of facing trial on a charge of aggravated child abuse. He was given five years of probation. Angelo's arrest puts that deal in jeopardy.
The content of the photos in question was unclear Monday. Assistant State Attorney Brian Trehy said the photos were used as exhibits for the defense but declined to comment further.
During the trial, the defense presented photos of injuries that Gigliotti allegedly sustained at the hands of the teen.
Attorney Robert Whittel said that Angelo is no longer his client. Whittel said he didn't know about his arrest until reached by a St. Petersburg Times reporter.
That day in court, Angelo took a long wooden stick, reached around the attorney cross-examining him and thumped him on the rear end. He swatted the man with the stick once, twice and finally a third time.
More or less, Angelo told jurors and Gigliotti's attorney Jimmy Brown, that was how Gigliotti struck her nephew during their final confrontation in February 2009.
Angelo's arrest adds a new wrinkle to questions that have been raised about his testimony.
In filing an appeal on behalf of his client later in May, Brown contended that jurors may have "considered matters extraneous to the case and not presented in evidence," pointing to a newspaper interview with one of the jurors. The juror, Judy Rice, said the panel considered Angelo to be an unreliable witness.
In the interview, Rice made reference to a point in Angelo's testimony when Circuit Judge Jack Springstead cleared the jury from the courtroom and expressed concern that Angelo was not forthcoming in his testimony. Brown said the jurors could not have known about that unless they heard about it outside the courtroom.
Trehy at the time dismissed the concerns, saying Brown had reached an unlikely conclusion.
Gigliotti's attorneys have always maintained that her nephew's story was exaggerated and riddled with discrepancies. Gigliotti has appealed her conviction and sentence.
Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.