Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson scored a significant court victory Friday (December 28) in Clarkston, Michigan, when a judge reduced charges brought against him from his July 30 OzzFest performance there. In a preliminary examination, 52nd District Court Judge Gerald E. McNally knocked down a prosecution charge of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and carried over a charge of misdemeanor assault-and-battery. Both charges carry fines of $2,000 and no jail time. Manson remains free on a personal bond.
Manson revealed, “I’m not completely happy,” and added that the new charges are “better than when I came. I still think this is unfair. I’m not alien to being persecuted by people for things I haven’t done.”
Manson wore a black shirt, black striped trousers, platform sneakers, and black eyeliner to the hearing, and signed autographs for a collection of goth-dressed fans who attended.
A pre-trial hearing on the new charges, again in front of McNally, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on March 18. Attorneys for both sides have until then to appeal the ruling or to strike a plea bargain. Manson’s attorney, Walter Piszczatowski, was hopeful for the latter-for the first time, the defense turned over a video from the show, shot from the soundboard, which he says “makes pretty clear…there was no sexual act.”
The charges stem from a July 30 OzzFest appearance at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, at which security guard Josh Keisler alleges that Manson rubbed his genitals on the guard’s neck and body.
Despite lengthy and explicit testimony from Keisler, 26, saying that he was “completely shocked…nauseated, and repulsed” when Manson “completely engulfed” Keisler’s head “in his groin area, thighs, and pelvic bone,” McNally agreed with defense contentions that Manson’s actions were for performance and not for sexual arousal.
Keisler’s testimony was supported by another DTE security guard, but the defense chose to call no witnesses, even though it had flown in veteran music journalist Anthony DeCurtis to provide expert testimony.