Friday, November 19, 2010
Keith Baldassara's testimony.
The last witness of today was Keith Baldassara. Mr Baldassara told the court he had known Tommy Sheridan since 1984 and had worked closely with him as his election agent from 1992 to 2003 and as his parliamentary caseworker from 1999 to 2006. The witness also told the court he was one of three best men at Tommy Sheridan's wedding, along with Andrew McFarlane and George McNeilage. The Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC, asked Mr Baldassara if he had been present at the 9th November 2004 Scottish Socialist Party executive meeting and what had occured. The witness said he had been at the meeting and that Tommy Sheridan had admitted he had been present at Cupids ( a "sex club in Manchester) on two occasions. Mr Baldassara said he was in "no doubt" that was what was said.
Mr Prentice then asked the witness if he was "surprised" at this admission, to which Mr Baldassara said he was not. The witness told the court that he had discussed this issue on a "number of occasions" with Tommy Sheridan, including at a meeting between the two at Glasgow city Chambers in 2001. Mr Baldassara also told the court of another incident in which he had been in a car when Mr Sheridan had raised the possibility of the story about "the sex club coming out in the press" Mr Baldassara told the court this led to a "furious row" between them with the witness telling Tommy Sheridan this could "put all our gains at risk" to which Mr Sheridan had responded that "nobody could prove it."
Mr Prentice then asked about a wedding reception held for Tommy Sheridan's brother in law Andrew McFarlane. Mr Baldassara was asked if he met a Matthew McColl there which he confirmed he had, and that Mr McColl was known as "hadjie." Mr Baldassara told the court that Tommy Sheridan had introduced him as "this is the guy who walks out of a strip show" Mr Baldassara met Tommy Sheridan a week or so later and told him that "it had come to his attention" that Mr Sheridan had went a "sex party" in a hotel, described by the witness as "a night of madness" involving "group sex" and a woman being "flown in." Mr Baldassara told the court that Mr Sheridan had told him the event had been organised by "hadjie" and he had "attended but not particpated."
The Advocate Depute then returned to the 9th November executive committee and had Mr Baldassara confirm that a minute presented to him was, in his view, an accurate account of this meeting. Mr Prentice then ended his evidence and chief and the court adjourned for lunch.
Posted by James Doleman at 6:24 PM