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Baker's Dozen singer files civil suit
against assault suspects

Attorneys Jim Hammer, Whitney Leigh and Matt Gonzalez held a press conference to announce details of a civil law suit filed by their client, Sharyar Aziz Jr., against five men
in connection with a San Francisco New Year's Eve party that turned violent.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Brent Begin, Bay City News

March 14, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A member of a famed Yale University choral group has filed a civil lawsuit against five men in connection with a San Francisco New Year's Eve party that turned violent.

Sharyar Aziz Jr., 18, sustained a fractured jaw and nerve and tooth damage in what the lawsuit refers to as a "senseless and premeditated attack carried out by a gang of thugs."

Sharyar Aziz Jr.
Screenshot courtesy KGO-TV/DT

But the San Francisco district attorney's office has not charged anyone in Aziz's beating. Instead, formal charges have only been brought against Richard Aicardi and Brian Dwyer, both 19, in the beatings of two other Baker's Dozen members.

District Attorney Kamala Harris said there wasn't enough evidence to charge any other suspects, and that Aziz wasn't able to make an identification.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris

Lawyers for Aziz, however, said today that with a gang attack, there only needs to be circumstantial evidence to charge someone.

The lawsuit names three other men in the incident, Aicardi's 20-year-old twin brothers, Michael and James Aicardi, and Marino Peradotto, 20.

Aziz's lawyer, Jim Hammer, said that Peradotto is now a marine working overseas.

Attorney Jim Hammer

The incident drew national media attention in part because police failed to make an arrest that night and because the fight occurred after the defendants mocked a performance by the singing group of the "Star Spangled Banner."

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that after the group sung the song, Aicardi, Dwyer and some of their friends "rendered their own derisive parody of the anthem, to insult and attempt to provoke plaintiff and other Yale students into a confrontation."

But the Baker's Dozen members didn't cave in to the threats, according to the lawsuit.

Despite being "pushed, slapped and struck" they didn't resort to violence and instead left the home in small groups to go to the house where they were sleeping, only a few blocks away.

Once outside, the lawsuit says, the group was confronted and attacked, a version of events that defense lawyers strongly dispute.

Frank Passaglia, who represents Aicardi, maintains that the Baker's Dozen group had made threats of their own and that once outside, both groups engaged in mutual and drunken combat.

Aicardi has already pleaded not guilty to criminal charges against him in the incident. He is out of jail on $120,000 bail.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified sum from the defendants in an "attempt to seek justice."

The Aziz family has pledged to donate any money recovered in the suit to charity.

"The Aziz family wishes to convey that their only purpose in filing this suit is to seek justice against the men who brutally attacked their son..." a statement from the Gonzalez and Leigh law firm read.

"Thus far, the SF District Attorney has failed to file charges against any of the perpetrators of the attack against Sharyar Jr., in spite of clear evidence identifying them. The Aziz family wants to make clear that this lawsuit is simply an attempt to seek justice."




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