Baker’s Dozen 'victim' files civil lawsuit 

The Yale University singer whose jaw was broken in a New Year’s Eve melee in SanFrancisco sued his alleged attackers Tuesday after a criminal investigation yielded no charges in his beating.

Sharyar Aziz Jr., a Yale freshman and member of the Baker’s Dozen a cappella group, alleges in his civil complaint that a group of young men summoned by Richard Aicardi, 19, set upon him and beat him after a New Year’s Eve party at which Aicardi and his co-defendants taunted and threatened the singers.

The defendants allegedly taunted the singers with anti-gay slurs after the group gave a rendition the "The Star-Spangled Banner" at midnight, a traditional Baker’s Dozen performance. Aicardi allegedly called a group of friends to assault the singers, according to the lawsuit, bragging that he was "20 deep." When the singers left the party to avoid a fight, the lawsuit claims Aicardi and his friends assaulted them, breaking Aziz’s jaw and leaving other members with bruises, cuts and one with a concussion.

The lawsuit names as defendants Brian Dwyer, Marino Peradotto and brothers Richard, Michael and James Aicardi — members of a prominent and wealthy San Francisco family. According to lawyers for the Aziz family, police sought arrest warrants against those five defendants, but San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris only charged Dwyer and Richard Aicardi in the attack, and did not make any charges in Aziz’s beating.

The brawl made national headlines when the victims’ families publicly criticized the police investigation and hired lawyers to pressure the department and District Attorney’s Office. They hired the law firm Gonzalez and Leigh shortly after the attack, and that firm represents them in the civil case.

"We are doing this very reluctantly," Sharyar Aziz’s mother, Laura Aziz, said via telephone from her New York home. She said the family would donate any monetary award to charity, and that the lawsuit was purely for the purpose of creating an official record of the alleged attack.

"We would like to see a record in the ... justice system that more crimes were committed than were charged," Laura Aziz said in an interview Tuesday. "If criminal charges were to be filed in this case, we’d drop the civil suit."

Aicardi’s lawyer, Frank Passaglia, did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday, but Dwyer’s criminal defense lawyer called into question the lawsuit’s validity. "The facts that are driving this are facts that are given to a father by a teenage son who was at a party where there was a lot of alcohol and a fistfight broke out," former San Francisco prosecutor Tony Brass said. He said Dwyer is not guilty of any crime, and stressed that the lawsuit does not accuse Dwyer of breaking Sharyar Aziz Jr.’s jaw.

"I guess New York money’s more powerful than San Francisco money. It’s absolutely true [that] the lawyers for the victims are driving the case," Brass said. "Although victims’ families certainly are an important group and should be heard, the reins of the prosecution should not be handed over to a father who perceives his son to be a victim. That’s not the way the system’s supposed to work."

amartin@examiner.com

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