Opera Singer Acquitted of Tofu-Related Assault Charges

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Bringing an end to what will certainly be the next ripped-from-the-headlines "Law & Order" drama, a New York judge acquitted Marcella Caprario on Wednesday of charges that she slapped another shopper at Trader Joe's. The fight with Dr. Cathleen London reportedly began after the doctor's son refused to move so that Caprario and her husband could buy a container of frozen vegan pad Thai with tofu.

Caprario, an opera singer and English teacher, admitted to the slap but said London had escalated matters, basically arguing that she slapped London only in self-defense. Witnesses described the dramatic scene that had unfolded in the frozen-food section:

As Mr. Hobbs struggled to get around the boy — repeatedly saying, 'Excuse me,' he testified Tuesday — the two women converged in the frozen food aisle, coming 'nose to nose,' according to Mr. Hobbs. As Dr. London moved a step forward, assuming what Dr. London called a 'defensive stance,' Ms. Caprario struck her on the right side of her face, she admitted Tuesday.

Another report included some more colorful details of the tofu-triggered exchange. London apparently described Caprario as a profanity-spewing "screaming banshee," while Caprario claimed London told her to "[g]et that pole out of your ass." I'm not entirely clear on the meaning of that last phrase, but it does seem insulting, and that seems confirmed by the fact that the slap immediately followed.

Ultimately, the judge may have agreed with Caprario's self-defense argument, or she just may have been sick of the whole thing and decided an acquittal was the quickest way out of this farce. During closing argument, the judge "repeatedly closed her eyes, leaned back and massaged her forehead in desperation." Her verdict quickly followed.

Meanwhile, the real culprit, Dr. London's miscreant tofu-blocking son, seems to have escaped charges altogether.