Rebuttal by prosecution all that remains in Ira Hatch trial

VERO BEACH — Jurors took a late lunch Wednesday after Assistant State Attorney Ryan Butler and Defense Attorney Gregory Eisenmenger presented closing arguments in the six-week trial of disbarred attorney Ira C. Hatch.Only the state’s rebuttal by Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans remains before the case is in the hands of the jury. Evans estimated less than an hour for his rebuttal, meaning that Senior Judge James Midelis would have time to at least begin reading the 99-page jury information aloud, which is a legal requirement prior to deliberation.During closing remarks, Butler summarized the evidence presented in the case, focusing on the more than 100 alleged victims who testified as to losing money deposited with Coastal Escrow Services. To remind jurors of the scope and impact on individual lives of the estimated $4 million that went missing, the state displayed photographs of the people who testified with their names and the amounts they claimed to have lost.No matter what the name one might attach to what happened, Butler said, it was stealing.”I don’t think the defense will dispute that they lost the money,” Butler said.During Eisenmenger’s two-hour defense closing, he pointed out that evidence, inconsistencies in evidence or lack of evidence could all be reasons for jurors to find reasonable doubt that his client committed any or all of the 45 charges brought against him.Eisenmenger admitted that the state had proven an organized scheme to defraud and that Hatch has responsibility for the missing money, but said that does not equate to criminal culpability.”Mr. Hatch bears civil responsibility and as an attorney he bears responsibility for all the acts that happened under his watch,” he said.”The criminal issue is that you have to find that Mr. Hatch did criminal acts,” Eisenmenger added.The trial continues as court resumed at 2:30 p.m.A full report of both sets of closing arguments will be posted later today.

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