A judge ruled Friday that a video of actor Rip Torn, shown staggering, bellowing and cursing at police after his drunk driving arrest last January, can be shown to jurors at his trial, which starts next week.
The 73-year-old Emmy-nominated actor took the ruling by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert Stolz in stride.
“I’m in good spirits. It’s in the hands of the jury, the judge, the lawyers and the Almighty,” Torn said.
Torn, who played Richard Nixon in the 1979 TV movie “Blind Ambition” and chief agent Zed in both “Men in Black” films, has pleaded innocent to driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
The 45-minute police videotape, screened for the judge at a pretrial hearing Thursday, shows Torn slurring his speech, cursing at police and at times, nodding off.
“You’re an egregious bunch of ... artists,” Torn says at one point in an expletive-laced outburst. “Go to hell, you guys. I’m telling you, you guys are all going to jail,” he exclaims, knocking down a chair while refusing to take a sobriety test at the police precinct. “Take these cuffs off me.”
Torn’s lawyer, Adam Levy, argued that the entire tape should not be shown to jurors because the actor was denied access to a lawyer. But the judge said having a lawyer present for a sobriety test was “not an absolute right.”
A police officer had testified that Torn’s clothes “were disheveled, his hair messy (and) his eyes glossy and red” after the car which he was driving crashed into the back of a taxi in Greenwich Village on Jan. 13.