, Salem, MA

Local News

August 9, 2011

Defense lawyer: Client not a pirate

SALEM — Scott Stanton is no pirate — just a guy who thought he was going to a party, his lawyer argued yesterday.

But Stanton's denial, and his claim that it was codefendant Stephen Jette, 37, of Ipswich, who boarded a sailboat in Gloucester Harbor with the intent to plunder it last week, failed to persuade a Salem District Court judge to release him yesterday.

The two were arrested last Thursday in Gloucester in a boat bearing a pirate flag — which helped the Coast Guard spot them. They were charged with breaking and entering. Stanton is also charged with intimidation of a witness — the sleeping owner who woke up while Stanton was on board.

Stanton, 30, of Gloucester, was in the Salem court yesterday on a warrant for violations of his probation — including but not limited to last Thursday night's pirate raid, a failed drug test that showed he'd used cocaine, and a string of missed meetings with his probation officer.

That officer, Sean Whalen, urged Judge Robert Brennan to keep Stanton in custody pending a final hearing that could send him to jail for up to 18 months, the length of a suspended sentence he received last fall in a Beverly burglary and threats case.

Stanton's lawyer, Paul Moraski, urged the judge to release his client, saying it was all a case of mistaken identity.

Moraski told the judge that Stanton was on his friend's boat and thought they were going to a party, but instead, they pulled up to a dark boat.

He said Stanton denies boarding the boat — although he was identified by the boat owner as the one who came on board, then warned him not to call police and said they had a gun. Instead, Stanton pointed the finger at Jette.

Whalen pointed out to the judge that Stanton is significantly larger than Jette, and questioned the likelihood of mixing up the two men.

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