Jury finds ‘Cheaters’ crew members not guilty

Author: Deanna Boyd, Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Date: 09-29-2006

FORT WORTH %uFFFD Both sides asked the jury to send a message Thursday evening.

Defense attorney Jill Davis wanted jurors to tell prosecutors that the criminal charges brought against crew members of Cheaters, a TV reality show that exposes infidelity, were ridiculous.

“Our tax dollars could be better spent on real crimes, real criminals,” she declared.

Prosecutors encouraged the six-member panel to let reality TV shows know that they cannot do whatever they want in the name of entertainment and just because they carry cameras.

“We%uFFFDre dealing with a bunch of shysters, self-important people and people who think they%uFFFDre above the law,” prosecutor Sean Colston told jurors.

After an hour and a half of deliberation, jurors found the four crew members not guilty on all charges stemming from a confrontation the crew videotaped in May 2005 between Rafael Gutierrez and Maria Gutierrez, an estranged Arlington couple.

The defendants %uFFFD the show%uFFFDs host, Joey Greco, 46, assistant director Hunter Carson, 30, and contract security guards Walter Woods, 37, and Thomas Gibbons, 20 %uFFFD had been charged with misdemeanors including assault with bodily injury, unlawful restraint and hindering apprehension.

“We%uFFFDre thrilled because we never felt like we did anything improper,” Greco said after the verdict.

Bobby Goldstein, the show%uFFFDs creator and executive producer, sang Zippity Do Dah to express his pleasure.

“It%uFFFDs regrettable that the Tarrant County district attorney%uFFFDs office decided to bring such a charge,” Goldstein said. “We%uFFFDve defended them, and they%uFFFDve all been acquitted, and I just think it%uFFFDs a glorious day for justice and for my little program and the show that could.”

Gibbons called the trial “phony” and thanked God for the jury%uFFFDs verdict.

Prosecutors expressed disappointment and surprise.

“It saddens me that they just condoned that activity, but it%uFFFDs the jury%uFFFDs verdict and it was up to them to make that decision,” JoAnn Pearce said.

The Cheaters crew had brought Rafael Gutierrez to the Bally Total Fitness center in Arlington where his wife worked. They intended for Gutierrez to confront his wife, with cameras running, about a videotape shot by a private investigator that showed her with a Fort Worth police captain.

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