Accused former corrections officer says he 'tried to be fair' to inmates
Closing arguments centered on "human social network" within the state's prison system and inmates whose testimony was "all written from the same script."
By Adam Brandolph
PITTSBURGH — Harry Nicoletti is more believable than 30 current or former inmates who claimed the former corrections officer at State Correctional Institution in Woods Run physically and sexually abused them, his defense attorney said Thursday.
“This is a case that is founded entirely on credibility,” his attorney, Steve Colafella, said during closing arguments. “There’s no video, no medical records. There’s no smoking gun you have to hang your hat on,” he told the jury. “You should disbelieve them, in part, because they are convicted criminals.”
Colafella’s closing arguments — after an 11-day trial that included 58 witnesses — centered on what he described as a “human social network” within the state’s prison system and inmates whose testimony was “all written from the same script.”
Colafella also challenged former officer Curtis J. Hoffman’s testimony, calling him a liar and a “sociopath” who bragged about working on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s Corvette, being a half-owner of Napa Auto Parts and working on the Goodyear Blimp.
“That’s the guy trying to drive the nail in (Nicoletti’s) coffin,” he said.