(LifeSiteNews) — On February 24, the Red Rose Rescue trial resumed for its fourth and final day at the 46th District Courthouse in Southfield, Michigan.
At about 9 AM on Friday morning, attorney Robert Muise called Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, to the witness stand.
The defense team had agreed before trial that Father would be the only rescuer of the six to testify. This was decided for chiefly two reasons. One, Muise had set forth final arguments to demonstrate definitively that the legal elements for any convictions were not met. And two, the ample video footage presented in the trial would provide sufficient powerful and compelling evidence alongside a moving pro-life witness regarding the victims of the abortion mill.
With this strategy in mind, Muise would focus upon the legal arguments while the rescuers would speak for themselves through the actual witness of the rescue as preserved by multiple videos. Fr. Fidelis would testify to clarify certain fundamental points, such as the role and rights of conscience.
The testimony began with Fr. Fidelis describing his vocation as a Catholic priest in a Franciscan religious order. He explained how his congregation, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, have a special mission “to preach the Gospel, serve the poor and homeless, and witness to the sanctity of every human life.”
Muise then asked Fidelis to expand on the idea of what it means to “witness to the sanctity of every human life” and be pro-life in his own priestly ministry.
Fr. Moscinski replied, “To be pro-life is to have an understanding that God created all human persons, and that each one of us has a duty to respect and protect life. It means any attack on innocent life is immoral. To be pro-life is to be against abortion on the basis of justice and religious grounds. God formed us all in the wombs of our mother.”
Just prior to this last sentence, Father was rudely interrupted by the assistant prosecutor who, clearly upset, cried out the judge, “Can I approach?”
This would be the first of many long attorney conferences of the day before Arvant’s bench.
When Muise returned to his questions he asked:
“As a Catholic priest, is it the fundamental teaching of the Catholic Church that abortion is immoral”
“Yes,” said Fr. Fidelis.
“And is it true that St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that any law contrary to the natural moral law is not a law but an act of violence?”
As Fr. Fidelis was answering in the affirmative, the prosecutor stood up angrily and loudly objected to all of what was being said.
This initiated yet another very long sidebar in front of the judge, during which time Fr. Fidelis could be observed taking out his rosary and beginning to pray.
This silent act prompted the pro-life observers in the gallery to even deeper prayer with the understanding that the trial was but another dimension of the spiritual battle to protect the innocent from violence, as well as protecting the souls of those deceived by Satan, including the judge, prosecutor, police, and abortion mill workers.
During this long discussion at the bench, one rescue supporter could be heard saying quietly to another, “Look how Fr. Fidelis is praying for his persecutors; he has such love for his enemies.”
After the prolonged sidebar, the judge spoke to the jury and told them, “I will be the one to instruct you on the law. This will appear in your jury instructions. No one else in this courtroom may speak to you about ‘another law’, or any ‘other law,’ whether that be an attorney or any witness.”
Rob continued, “So pro-life activity is contrary to abortion?”
“Yes,” said Father.
“What is an example of your pro-life ministry?”
“During our pro-life activity we go to places where children are killed—.”
The prosecutor rudely interrupted Father again, saying, “I object! That testimony is not relevant. We are considering trespass, obstruction, and a disturbance of a lawful, legal business.”
It will be noted from history, that when the horrors of the slavery industry ravaged our nation, indifferent or cruel prosecutors and judges would often say the exact same thing about the slave trading companies: “a lawful, legal business.”
Responding to Fitch, the judge instructed Muise that “the testimony must be narrowly tailored to the city’s charges. I will only allow this witness to testify to why he was in the clinic. I will deny this objection for the moment but warn defense counsel that everything in his [Fidelis’] testimony must be relevant.”
Muise continued his direct examination.
“Do you counsel women at these facilities?”
“Do you ever offer spiritual and financial support to these mothers?”
“Yes. We do.”
“Do you ever use violence?”
“Why is that?”
“Because it would be totally contrary to my purpose.”
“So you never advocate those who do violence against abortion organizations?”
“I would condemn them and their violence unequivocally.”
“So why were you there at the Northland abortion facility in Southfield?”
“I went to intervene in a life-or-death situation to persuade mothers not to have their babies butchered by abortion.”
“Objection, your honor,” exclaimed Fitch.
There was a moment of silence. It seemed as if Fr. Fidelis’ succinct, yet strong, words were settling into the very walls and concrete floor of the courtroom.
It must be said that Red Rose Rescuers would never use the word “butcher” or any other kind of harsh language while speaking directly to the women in abortion facilities. At the witness stand, however, such language assists in conveying the serious gravity and bitter reality of what abortion actually is.
Judge Arvant responded slowly, “This is how the witness will testify.” She said this while looking at the jury and then the prosecutor. Then she turned her eyes to Muise who continued his direct.
“So you go to express your love for babies and moms?”
“You are not there to protest, correct?”
“It was a rescue.” said Father quietly with grave concern upon his face.
“Was this place open to the public?”
“Did you use force to enter?”
“Did you enter the waiting room to physically stop people?”
“Did you try to stop pregnant women from entering the waiting room?”
“Did you physically obstruct?”
“Did you try to prevent entry?”
“Patients came and went freely?”
“Did you ever try to force yourself inside the back area of the abortion facility?”
“Did you stay in the public waiting area?”
“The video shows you approached with a red rose and a card. Why?”
“The rose is a sign of love,” said Fr. Moscinski. “We try to be welcoming and offer support. We want to draw moms to love their children, and the rose is a sign of our care and respect for them both.”
“You also offered printed pamphlets with pregnancy resources, material assistance, and abortion alternatives?”
“If they didn’t want the rose or the pregnancy aid and they turned away from you, did you leave them alone?”
“That was shown in the video, yes?”
“You never tried to force it on them?”
“But the abortion facility staff responded aggressively,” stated Muise pointing to the video screens.
“Did you threaten them or try to fight back?”
“Did you intend any disturbance?”
“Did you leave the lobby?”
“I was physically assaulted by two guards and physically removed.”
Rob played again the video of the large off duty guard and larger 300-pound guard grabbing Father, throwing him down on the ground while he offered no resistance, and then him flying into chairs and a glass coffee table.
“What happened?” Muise enquired while pausing the video.
“I was sitting in a chair when the one man tried to grab my property. I told them not to. They assaulted me. And threw me to the ground.”
“You let the guards carry you out?”
“I let them.”
“Then what happened?”
“They threw me into the hallway. And then the larger of the two men—Stanley, I think his name was—he lay down on top of me.”
“So they dropped you on the floor, and then one man placed his whole weight, about 300 pounds, on top of you. Did you tell him to get off of you?”
“Yes. Multiple times.”
“No. He stayed on top of me.”
“Did he eventually get off?”
“He told you to walk out, and you said you wouldn’t walk out. Why didn’t you walk out?”
“Because in conscience, I could not leave the mothers and children to suffer the violence of abortion.”
Muise paused. The rescuer’s words seemed to reverberate in the heart of each person seated in the courtroom.
The attorney then asked, “So your religious beliefs inform you to follow your conscience?”
“And so you offered no resistance, no threats, and didn’t even prevent or obstruct your arrest?”
“Did you put your hands behind your back when the officers placed you in handcuffs?”
“Did you walk out when they ordered you to do so?”
“It was a matter of conscience. I could not walk out. I would not violate my conscience.”
“But you did cooperate when you got to the police cruiser?”
“Because at that point I could no longer be present to intervene in the life-or-death situation at that place where lives were endangered.”
“Were you always peaceful?”
“Did you remain peaceful in the abortion facility, the building hallway, when under arrest, when wheeled out in the wheelchair, and when placed in the police vehicle?”
“Yes. Of course.”
“Were you ever anything but passive and peaceful?”
With this question, Muise finished his direct examination.
The prosecution questions Fr. Fidelis
Fitch began her cross-examination by asking Father about who was involved and how they arrived at the mill. She walked through some of the video footage.
When prosecutors ask their questions, they will often embed words or phrases into them to trick the witness and/or shape their own narrative of the situation.
While many of the questions were of a “yes or no” variety, here are a few examples of the prosecutor’s biased questions:
Fitch asked, “When you approached one of the patients, she was upset and moved away from you, correct?”
Fr. Fidelis replied, “No. The women were upset because Sarah the abortion mill manager was yelling.”
Fitch: “So the guards told you to leave; what did you say at this point?” (The video was showing the guard stealing Father’s backpack.)
Fr. Fidelis: “I told them, ‘Don’t take my stuff.'”
Fitch: “But they asked you to leave and tried to escort you out?”
Fr. Fidelis: “They assaulted me, grabbed me by the shoulders, and threw me to the ground, forcing my leg to hit into a glass table.”
Fitch: “You can see that the patients don’t want to talk to you.”
Fr. Fidelis: “We could all see on the video that Elizabeth and Jacob were counseling women. This continued until Sarah started yelling and interfering with the conversations, and then pulling the pregnancy literature out of the women’s hands.”
Fitch: “But these patients left their seats and the waiting room, correct?”
Fr. Fidelis: “They did as directed by Sarah. She herded them back into the rooms where they kill babies.”
Fitch: “When the guard is talking to Jacob, he does not have his hand on Jacob.”
Fr. Fidelis: “The video clearly shows that he does indeed put his hands on Jacob. Then he assaulted him, pulled him to the door, and threw him into the hallway.”
Fitch: “You disregarded Sarah and the guard telling you that you had to leave, and so the guards put you in the hallway?”
Fr. Fidelis: “I was not ‘put’ in the hallway; I was assaulted and thrown into the hallway.”
Fitch: “So you didn’t put on your robes [religious habit] because you didn’t want anyone to know who you are right?”
Fr. Fidelis: “No. I did not wish to draw attention to myself. But I was happy to tell anyone who I was, a Catholic priest, and why I was there.”
Fitch: “So the video shows you were coming out of the waiting room and Jacob was in front of the clinic door?”
Fr. Fidelis: “I am being thrown out, I am not ‘coming out,’ and Jacob is kneeling by the door not obstructing it.”
Fitch: “So the guards put you down, but you struggled and moved towards the ground near the door.”
Fr. Fidelis: “The guards put their hands on me again, dragged me around, then pushed me to the ground. I did not ‘struggle’ with them. The large guard was lying on top of me. There was no struggle.”
Fitch: “So there is some kind of struggle, and the guards restrained you?”
Fr. Fidelis: “They wanted to keep me on the ground. I wouldn’t describe this as a ‘struggle’ when someone is lying on top of you. It is physical assault.”
Fitch: “But they were restraining you, yes?”
Fr. Fidelis: “The large guard was lying on top of me. I couldn’t move. I told him to get off. That’s all I know.”
Fitch: “So you had no business in that building that day?”
Fr. Fidelis: “I certainly did.”
Fitch: “So the security told you to leave, and the police told you to leave. Did you?”
Fr. Fidelis: “No.”
Fitch: “So the police had to pick you up?”
Fr. Fidelis: “They didn’t have to.”
Fitch: “But they arrested you. You were on the ground, and they had to lift you.”
Fr. Fidelis: “The police had other options available to them than arrest.”
Fitch: “The police had to take you by wheelchair to the car and to the police station?”
Fr. Fidelis: “No. They did not have to arrest us and take us to the police station. There were other options.”
Fitch: “So you cooperated at the police car and at the station. Did you ever complain to the police of being injured or allege or report that you were assaulted?”
Fr. Fidelis: “I did cooperate. However, I did not file a complaint for assault charges or ask for medical assistance.”
At the end of her cross examination, Bonnie became very dramatic and fired off three loud, fast, angry questions.
Fitch: “Your goal was to shut down the clinic?”
Fitch: “Your goal was to stop abortion services?”
Fitch: “You wanted to disrupt services?”
“Thank you, Father,” said Fitch. “No further questions.”
Muise now had the opportunity to offer follow up questions during his re-direct.
Muise: “Why didn’t you tell the police that you were assaulted?”
Fr. Fidelis: “I wished to focus all of my attention on efforts to persuade women not to have their babies butchered by abortion.”
Judge Arvant: “There is not much I can do. It is his testimony.”
Muise: “Please continue.”
Fr. Fidelis: “To speak about the assault by the guards would be to take away my primary focus.”
At this point, the judge halted testimony to call another sidebar. This provided the jury another opportunity to think about why the rescuers were there at the Northland abortion mill: to keep innocent babies from being butchered.
After the judge’s conference, Muise replays some video of the waiting room and asks his last few questions:
“When Jacob offers the pregnancy information, the woman takes it right?”
“And does Sarah then pull it out of that woman’s hands?”
“And then what happens?”
“The woman continues talking with Jacob.”
“So you then offer roses to women standing in the waiting room?”
“Did any of these women run away or complain?”
“And the patient is still talking with Jacob?”
“What happens there?” (Muise pointed to the video screen.)
“Sarah walks over and seems to be shouting.”
“Did the women at that point all get herded into the back room?”
And with this final answer, Muise finished his re-direct.
The prosecutor had no re-cross, therefore, defense rested its case.
Why Fr. Moscinski is truly a free man
These final questions were a rebuttal to the prosecutor and judge who had both laughed earlier in the trial, saying that “the patients were not at all interested in talking with” the rescuers.
That was a complete lie.
Just like the lie that this abortion mill doesn’t murder babies for money.
At the end of the witness testimony, the pro-life supporters in the room were quite moved by Father’s humility, intelligence, and compassion.
One supporter in the gallery said, “He is no zek. He is truly a free man.”
“Zek” was a term used by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his book The Gulag Archipelago. Within the communist concentration camps, the zek was a prisoner who gave up fighting the lies of the communist state and basically rolled over to his enemies, surrendering all defense of, or concern for, the truth.
Such was not the witness of Fr. Fidelis Moscinski! With bold Christian faith and living charity, he confronted the lies of the abortion industry and a pro-abortion government apparatus and bore courageous witness to the truth.
Jesus Christ said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:31).
Indeed, inside the abortion mill, in handcuffs, in the police car, in jail, and in the courtroom, Fr. Fidelis was, and is, a free man!
After the jury was released on recess, but before deliberation, there was an opportunity for further attorney motions.
Rob Muise shows why the court should dismiss all charges
Rob Muise moved the court to dismiss all charges because the prosecution failed to establish any of the necessary legal elements for the three criminal complaints.
Arguing on constitutional and case law grounds, Muise went through each charge demonstrating with superb legal acumen that the defendants were within their rights in their actions which were shielded by equal protection.
One example: the free exercise clause of the First Amendment provides for freedom of conscience. When the rescuers refused to walk away from a killing center based upon their conscience, they had no criminal intent to resist arrest. Therefore, the court must protect them in the exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs and recognize they could not walk out freely based upon spiritual reasons related to their faith, and the sincere and reasonable belief human life was in danger.
Judge Arvant listened patiently but then agreed, once again, with the prosecutor.
Essentially, the motions for dismissal were all rejected because preborn babies don’t exist, murdering them is “legal,” and charging parents money to butcher their babies is permissible since murder mills are “legal businesses.”
The jury was soon brought back into the courtroom for the final summations.
Bonnie Fitch began her closing arguments with fictional depictions of what she wanted the jury to believe. She contradicted the forthright testimony of Fr. Fidelis and narrated parts of the video evidence with a wholly partial and biased spin inconsistent with the facts.
While seeking to come across to the jury as “reasonable” and simply “law and order,” her words did not match objective reality.
She said that the rescuers’ disturbance caused the building occupants not to have a “typical day.” She meant a day where the innocent are wantonly massacred without concern or concrete protection.
Fitch accused the rescuers of Interference with the police who were doing nothing more than “trying to do their job.” Apparently, this means a job which serves, aids, and abets the facilitation of dismembering babies.
Bonnie sought to appeal to the jury’s sense of justice by claiming the defenders “disrupted the peace of a business.”
This begs the question, what exactly does that “peace” look like?
In horrible truth it looks like small arms and legs torn off bodies and thrown into trash cans. It looks like the skulls of viable 6-month-old babies being crushed as their bodies writhe in agony. It looks like scarred and tortured women who have been forced by their boyfriends to kill their baby so the men can avoid paying child support costs. It looks like women in deep depression who will forever regret killing their baby.
This is what the “peace of the abortion business” looks like.
Such evil is also what the “peace” of an abortion supporting government looks like.
Fitch told the courtroom that “one cannot disrupt legal [murder] just because one ‘thinks’ [murder] is wrong.”
“You may not interfere with [murder] just because you happen to disagree with the right to [murder].”
“[Murder] is legal. A [murder facility] is a legal business. And [murder] is a legal service. This case isn’t about [murder], it isn’t about personal beliefs [about murder], no matter how sincere those beliefs are. This case is about laws given by the judge, and about you following those laws.”
The closing remarks
It would not be possible to adequately summarize Muise’s closing arguments in words alone. He provided to the jury and courtroom a brilliant PowerPoint presentation which highlighted all the legal flaws and errors in the prosecution’s case.
Starting with his opening frame showing a big red rose, each of the slides were full of solid arguments to refute the false allegations against the rescuers. Muise also employed video footage and still frames to establish the facts. He covered each element of (1) trespass, (2) resist or obstruct a police officer, and (3) disturbing the peace and interference with a business.
The presentation was as flawless as it was inspiring.
One veteran rescuer even said that Rob’s closing statements were the best legal arguments against criminal conviction that he’d ever witnessed in all the many decades of his pro-life work.
Muise showed how the abortion mill, police, and government prosecutors failed to demonstrate that the laws had been broken by the rescuers and highlighted the grave shortcomings of their arguments.
For example, the legal agent/servant who gave the warning to each defendant in the hallway was not even working for either the abortion mill, or the property owner on the day of the rescue!
Muise also drew back the curtain of drama used by prosecution to make the rescuers seem like hardened criminals. He recalled how Sarah spoke on the witness stand about how she yelled at the pregnant mothers to, “‘Drop that rose!’ like it was a loaded handgun!”
By his professionally polished summation Muise proved the rescuers did not trespass, they did not resist, and they did not interfere with a business. Therefore, he told the jury they needed to look at all the facts in evidence, recognize the huge holes in the prosecution’s allegations, and specifically consider the technicalities of the law and to apply them to what actually happened on April 23, 2022, the day of the rescue.
“The only fair and just verdict, the only true verdict you should come back with is ‘not guilty.’ You are guided by the law and the evidence. When you consider all of the evidence, you’ll see there are large gaping holes. You have only one verdict to render.”
With these words from Robert Muise, the defense had completed its courtroom witness for life and truth.
Because the government has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, they are offered a rebuttal to the defense’s closing summation.
Fitch discussed what the abortion mill owner and manager said. How they were upset. She explained that the hairdresser had a patient wait (for less than 15 terrible minutes!) to get a haircut. She lamented over the burden the police and security guards had to “do their job” (like difficult work of putting the feet of the rescuers on wheelchair pedals while babies were about to get their feet and legs ripped off just down the hall).
With angsty emotion Fitch huffed, “They disrupted the peace of that clinic!”
From the perspective of the unborn who have their peace and their very lives forever disrupted at this abortuary, it is clear that the rescuers kept the peace.
Once the summations were completed, the judge read the jury instructions and the jurors were dismissed for their deliberations. The time was approximately 11:50 AM.
The rescuers took time to pray together and ask Almighty God to enlighten the jurors and guide them in truth. The ultimate intention they prayed for was the protection of every single child in the womb without exception, and the protection of mothers and fathers from the violence of the abortion industry.
The unjust verdict was returned at about 1:50 PM:
Matthew Connolly – guilty of all 3 counts (trespassing, resisting police, disturbing peace/interference with a business).
Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR – guilty of all 3 counts (trespassing, resisting police, disturbing peace/interference with a business).
Elizabeth Wagi – guilty of all 3 counts (trespassing, resisting police, disturbing peace/interference with a business).
Jacob Gregor – guilty of all 3 counts (trespassing, resisting police, disturbing peace/interference with a business).
Monica Miller – guilty of 2 counts (trespassing and resisting), not guilty of 1 count (disturbing peace/interference with a business).
Laura Gies – guilty of 2 counts (trespassing and resisting), not guilty of 1 count (disturbing peace/interference with a business).
However, much more importantly, all of the rescuers were convicted by heaven for loving Almighty God and His little babies.
After being found guilty of an unjust crime, Mary Wagner, the rescue heroine from Canada, once stated, “I am glad that there was enough evidence to convict me of loving and seeking to save the lives of the little ones being taken to their death.”
This is the appropriate joyful attitude to have as a rescuer who seeks only to serve Jesus Christ and His littlest sisters and brothers.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 30th.
Thank you all for your prayers!!