New York, NY – A Madonna fan guilty of resisting arrest faces up to a year in prison after he “flailed his arms” at police who tried to arrest him.
Robert Linhart, a former city firefighter, was convicted Friday of resisting arrest when he was caught painting love notes on giant wooden boards outside Madge’s Central Park West building.
According to the New York Post, Linhart’s various signs carried messages such as, “Madonna I need you,” and, “Tell me yes or no. If it’s yes, my dream will come true. If it’s no, I will go. XXX”
Jurors in Linhart’s case argued he was well within his rights to paint the signs but argued that his failure to comply with police attempts to arrest him meant the Madonna fan was guilty of resisting arrest. 51-year-old juror Dr. Harry Pong told the Post:
“We thought that he was a little, you know, different. But that doesn’t matter – he has the right to free speech.”
Pong’s fellow juror Elisa Rosario, 50, defended Linhart’s right to paint the signs while blasting loud music on the sidewalk:
“I feel that his rights were violated. I don’t think he did anything wrong. He was a typical New Yorker. He was on the sidewalk painting. I give Mr. Linhart a lot of credit. He stepped up to the plate. He did not take their crap.”
Despite their sympathetic tones, both jurors admitted prosecutors offered credible police testimony, demonstrating how Linhart flailed his arms at cops who tried to arrest him on September 21, 2010. A trial exhibit video of the arrest featured a cuffed Linhart cursing at police officers.
While the Madonna fan was guilty of resisting arrest, a second charge from September 18, 2010 fell through. Jurors decided that the arresting officers’ testimony in that case was inconsistent.
Defense lawyer Lawrence LaBrew has said his client plans to appeal the conviction, arguing that Linhart was denied the right to present a doctor’s testimony showing that, at the time of the second arrest, he was suffering from a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder.
The injury, claimed LaBrew, was caused by the rough treatment of Linhart during the first arrest.
As for Linhart, he seems to be keeping his sense of humor during his ordeal. When asked by press outside court whether he would attend Madonna’s Monday and Tuesday concerts at Madison Square Garden, he replied, “If she invites me.”
Earlier this year, the retired firefighter lashed out at Madonna on his Twitter account (handle: madonna_stalker):
Funny,I just heard Madonna say that she supports freedom of speach. I think that she should inform her security of her beliefs. XXX
— Robert Linhart (@madonna_stalker) August 7, 2012
He also accused New York police of “brutality and lies” and revealed he has had to mortgage his house to defend himself:
Mortgaging my house for my freedom. It’s not the way I expected my retirement to be. Brutality and lies from NYPD’s Rogue 4. Shame on you.
— Robert Linhart (@madonna_stalker) August 16, 2012