A man who smashed a co-worker over the head with a champagne bottle at a team-building happy hour - reportedly because the co-worker changed the music from Michael Jackson to dubstep - was acquitted of assault and battery charges Thursday, according to the Public Defender's Office.
The bottle attack at San Francisco advertising firm AKQA reportedly occurred April 27 of last year after the co-worker, who witnesses testified was extremely drunk and inhaling nitrous oxide, switched the music from Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" to an electronic dance track and proceeded to dance.
Gaspar Magisa, 52, who had been pouring himself champagne during the music switch, "decided something had to be done," the public defender's office said.
The co-worker ended up with 17 stitches and Magisa ended up with criminal charges that packed a possible five-year prison sentence.
But after a week-long trial and six hours of jury deliberation, Magisa was found not guilty.
That result is partly because Magisa wasn't the only AKQA employee who was annoyed with the co-worker's music tampering. And frankly, the co-worker proved to be the officemate from hell, according to Deputy Public Defender Jacque Wilson.
Before the incident at a company Christmas party, the attorney said, the co-worker snuck up behind two men separately as they used a urinal. He poked a man's eye with his finger and smacked the other man's head against the wall.
During the trial, he called the bathroom incident "utterly hilarious."
Magisa had also been assaulted by the crazed co-worker, his attorney said. And more witnesses including a police officer testified to incidents of belligerence and violence. At a Thanksgiving party, employees said, the co-worker wrestled a homeless person while out on a beer run.
When a bubbling Magisa attacked with a champagne bottle last year, he was defending himself, Wilson said.
"The complaining witness was a bully who had injured people again and again," Wilson said. "Mr. Magisa is a kind and gentle man, but he wasn't going to allow himself to be hurt again."
Public Defender Jeff Adachi added, "Standing up for yourself against a person known for violence is not a crime."