Roughly 75 notices for jurors have been sent out for this week’s unusual trial in Aspen Municipal Court of a local artist accused of littering, a minor infraction that defendant Lee Mulcahy claims is political retribution.
Wednesday’s trial may see Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron and Heidi Zuckerman, Aspen Art Museum director, testify. Judge Brooke Peterson in late May ruled against a motion by the city’s outside attorney, Angela Roff, Carbondale’s municipal prosecutor, to have Mulcahy’s subpoenas quashed.
Aspen City Attorney Jim True, who recused himself and his office after Mulcahy allegedly posted online statements about True, confirmed Monday that Skadron is set to testify.
This the latest legal development for the former Aspen Skiing Co. ski instructor, who has quarreled with everyone from the SkiCo, a church and police to The Aspen Institute. He is facing eviction from his Burlingame affordable-housing residence after losing a long fight that involved battles at the district, appellate and Colorado Supreme Court levels. The local housing authority is expected to force him to sell the 1,900-square-foot home because of Mulcahy’s noncompliance related to work hours and the requisite occupancy of the property, and his failure to properly appeal.
And while Mulcahy appears set on using the trial to bring up those issues, Judge Peterson is expected to strictly limit testimony to the concept of littering, not what constitutes art, the art museum’s policies on accepting donations and similar issues, despite Mulcahy’s long-held stance that he is the subject of a political witch hunt.
Aspen police in October cited Mulcahy for littering after he left several items outside the art museum, including a bicycle and a silver washer-dryer tube.
He pleaded not guilty in January — saying beforehand that he was dropping off a sculpture — and the next month sought the recusal of Judge Peterson, citing his supposed ties to the Aspen Skiing Co. The judge denied the recusal effort.
Roff, who declined comment Monday, in a court filing indicated she intends to call three Aspen police officers and two art museum employees, and will introduce surveillance video and photos of the alleged infraction. Besides the mayor and museum head, Mulcahy intends to call two local artists.
A jury of six is to be seated, with Roff and Mulcahy each able to dismiss three prospective jurors.