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msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/29/2011 11:28:50 AM ET 2011-09-29T15:28:50

The chairman of the school committee in Abington, Mass., is apologizing for a magic trick he performed before a televised meeting in which he appeared to tear the bra off a fellow committee member through her clothes.

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The trick was performed Tuesday by Russell Fitzgerald, an amateur magician known to open meetings with a little sleight of hand. It was met with no laughs, just stunned silence.

Fitzgerald issued a written apology Wednesday for the embarrassment he caused committee member Ellen Killian and his unwitting accomplice, teacher Steve Shannon, The Enterprise of Brockton reported.

"My intention was to begin a purposeful school committee business meeting in a way which was enjoyable and lighthearted," he said. "I am sorry for the embarrassment this has caused."

"I was just as shocked as everybody else," Killian said. "I just want to make it clear I had no prior knowledge how his trick was going to end."

The teachers' union said Shannon was also unaware of the trick Fitzgerald had planned.

Fitzgerald said he would no longer perform tricks before meetings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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