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Charges Dropped Against Ex-Cro-Mags Rocker Accused of Stabbing Bandmates

By Irene Plagianos | December 14, 2012 10:45am

MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — The assault charges against punk rocker Harley Flanagan, the former Cro-Mags bassist accused of stabbing and biting two members of his band at a July Webster Hall gig, have been dropped, Flanagan's lawyer said.

The lawyer, Sean Parmenter, said prosecutors dismissed the case against Flanagan during a hearing Friday morning in Manhattan Criminal Court, adding they didn't have sufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. 

"This is great news for him and his family," said Parmenter, who said Flanagan always maintained he acted in self-defense, and was not the aggressor. "He feels vindicated."

Prosecutors did not tell Parmenter why they dropped the charges, but Flanagan and his legal team had long maintained it would be difficult to find witnesses to build the DA's case, as those in the hardcore punk community don't want to talk to cops, they say.

The DA's office had no immediate comment.

Flanagan's case has been in limbo since his July arrest, and prosecutors never put it before a grand jury. According to speedy trial rules in New York, Flanagan's case would have needed to be dismissed by the second week of January if prosecutors failed to take the case to a grand jury.

Flanagan was charged with second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon for attacking Michael Couls, the band's current bassist, 33, and William Berario, 35, another band member, in a dressing room before the Cro-Mags were set to perform at the CBGB festival.

Flanagan was accused of slashing Couls in the torso after sneaking into the backstage area. When Berario tried to put a stop to the assault, Flanagan allegedly turned on him and bit him in the face, before stabbing him above the left eye.

Then Flanagan went back to attacking the first victim, stabbing him in the arm, police said.

Flanagan has said he went to the show that night to bury the hatchet with his bandmates, but was attacked.