Man Accused of Weasel-Related Assault is Acquitted

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The Seattle Times, which proudly and rightfully boasts that it is the "Winner of Eight Pulitzer Prizes," will not win another one for its coverage of this story, I'm sorry to say. But this December 7 report did at least notify the world that the man who was accused of barging into an apartment carrying a weasel carcass and punching somebody in the face has been acquitted.

As you may recall, this case raised puzzling questions from the very beginning, including the victim's not-unreasonable question, "Why are you carrying a weasel?" Rather than answer the question, the intruder responded, "It's not a weasel, it's a marten," and then punched him in the nose and fled. Turned out that (according to local authorities) they were both wrong, and it was actually a mink. As I explained before, the confusion is understandable because these are all snaky little carnivores, but to be honest, most of us are less interested in which specific member of the Mustelidae family it was than in why the hell the guy had it in the first place. And that question remains unanswered.

Also unclear is what role if any the beast actually played in the assault. The original report said the man came into the apartment, punched somebody, and left the animal's carcass behind, but this report says he was accused of "breaking into a home and throwing a dead mink at another man." He appears to have been charged only with burglary (unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime), not assault (throwing a mink) and/or battery (hitting somebody with it, or with his fist), and if that's true then wielding a mammal of whatever species would not have been an element of the crime. Yet the defense attorney was quoted as saying that his client was acquitted because the "prosecution failed to prove a link to the mink." I guess we'll never know the truth.

I'd like to think he channeled Johnnie Cochran during his closing argument and kept repeating, "If it isn't a mink, there is no link!" But I suppose he was just being a wise guy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.