Please, Carlo, take the deal: Don’t go to prison over NJ’s dumb gun laws
Carlo Bellario, the NJ standup comic and actor who was charged for having a pellet gun in his hand on a movie shoot, has told NJ 101.5 he's refusing a plea deal that would spare him prison time, fighting what he says are charges that should never have been brought.
We've had Carlo on the show a few times as this case against him has progressed. He always said he wouldn't accept any plea deal that meant even a day in jail.
Now that he's been offered a deal requiring zero incarceration and only probation, he says he's turning it down and wants to go to trial. I hope for his sake he changes his mind.
Anything can happen at trial. He can do 15 years in prison for this as he has priors and was not allowed to ever touch a gun again. I understand he says he didn't believe it was a real gun — that he thought it was a hollywood prop. That might not matter to a jury. Even his own attorney is advising Carlo to take the deal, which would drop the gun charges and have him plead guilty to a charge of creating false public alarm (the movie shoot was on a public street and neighbors thought the car chase and gun were real).
I don't understand what could lead a guy who has said all along that his main goal was to fight against a prison term that would separate him from his family to even consider rolling the dice and turning down this deal. Is he so hung up on the principle that he did nothing purposely wrong and shouldn't be held accountable for a small-time movie producer not doing things right on his end? (Notifying the town, getting proper permits, etc.)?
I like Carlo, I really do, but the sad fact is with his priors and knowing he was never allowed to handle a firearm again, he should have been more careful and asked more questions. In no way am I saying he should do jail time. But he should have been more cautious in dealing with some unknown movie producer when he was being handed a gun. The burden of his past record meant he should have never assumed it was a prop.
I believe in principles too. But I also believe in a good deal when you see one.
— Jeff Deminski
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