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Jurors Reject Claim in Suit Over Fall at Pier

November 14, 1998

VENTURA — Jurors decided against convicted perjurer Jerry Fraschilla, who sued the city for $90,000 after tripping and falling on the Ventura Pier, despite the supportive testimony of girlfriend and former Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie.

Gillespie, who faces a trial later this month on charges of violating federal securities laws, testified during the 4 1/2-day trial that Fraschilla can't jog or sit for long periods and that he needs to take pain medication because of the March 1997 pier accident.

Attorneys for the city and its contractors told jurors in closing arguments Thursday that Fraschilla was either a con man who faked the accident or a klutz who wasn't paying attention.

The jury agreed Thursday after three hours of deliberation, saying that Fraschilla didn't deserve a dime.

Fraschilla, 61, of Oxnard claimed he suffered a severe back injury when he tripped over a warped board. Defense attorneys countered that Fraschilla had a history of back problems. They also noted his criminal record for lying under oath in a securities fraud case.

In that case, Fraschilla and Gillespie were charged with fraud and violating federal securities laws by buying stock in 1992 and 1993 without means or intention of paying for it. Fraschilla pleaded guilty and will be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

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