a.k.a. The trials & tribulations of Wendy O. and The Plasmatics
Jury weighs obscenity charges
CLEVELAND (AP)--A jury of five men and three women was going to court today to determine whether punk-rock singer Wendy O. Williams violated Ohio's obscenity laws.
The jury, which deliberated for about an hour Wednesday, asked to view again today a TV station's tape of Miss William's Jan. 12 performance, in which prosecutors allege she simulated sexual activity.
"To me, it's a First Amendment case," said the 31-year-old lead singer of The Plasmatics, who appeared in court wearing skin-tight red pants, stiletto-heeled boots and a link chain around her neck. "I think what's going on here is obscene."
Miss Williams, whose black and blond hair was cut in a Mohawk style, said she has never appeared on stage nude.
The charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, was filed after eight undercover policemen watched The Plasmatics perform in the Agora night club Jan. 21. A videotape of the show made by a WKYC-TV cameraman was shown jurors Wednesday.
.....while the Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams was acquitted on the same day, Apr. 9, of her charge of "pandering obscenity" in Cleveland. The story isn't over yet, however, for either one.
Williams' acquittal came after a two-day trial in which jurors twice viewed a film of the show in which she was charged, and rejected the Cleveland City Prosecutor's claim that the performance was "patently offensive" and that it "exceeded community standards" of decency. Local Plasmatics fans and even a busload of New York loyalists rallied in her defense in front of the court house during the trial. Williams denounced the arrest and trial, calling it "a waste of the taxpayers' money" and citing the city's high rate of murders and rapes as crimes the police should be going after.
Williams still faces a June 3 trial in Milwaukee for resisting arrest. A city charge of "prohibited conduct on a licensed premises" is currently being clarified for a separate trial.
Doctor says Wendy O. is OK
MILWAUKEE (AP)--The ears, nose and throat of rock singer Wendy O. Williams are "perfectly normal," despite her claim in a $6 million lawsuit that she suffered permanent injuries in a police beating, a doctor testified.
S. Frederick Horwitz, a specialist who examined the self-proclaimed high priestess of heavy metal, said Thursday in Circuit Court her ears were normal and her throat was in excellent condition.
Ms. Williams and members of her group, the now defunct Plasmatics, are suing six Milwaukee police officers for damages they claim to have sustained in their 1981 arrests.
Charges against the group of presenting what police termed an obscene performance were later dismissed. The suit asks for nearly $6 million.
Wendy O. Williams loses
MILWAUKEE (AP)--Rock singer Wendy O. Williams has lost a $6 million lawsuit she filed against city police, claiming she was fondled and beaten in a 1981 arrest for an allegedly obscene performance by her group the Plasmatics.
A jury deliberated about five hours Thursday before clearing six police officers named as defendants by Ms. Williams, her manager, Rod Swenson, former Plasmatics bass player Jean Marie Beaudoir and stagehand Peter Capadocia.
Jurors ruled that Ms. Williams was not sexually assaulted, that police were within their rights to arrest her and did not use excessive force or violate her civil rights during the Jan. 19, 1981, arrest.
Charges against her later were dismissed.
Singer's claim disputed
Despite the contentions of Wendy O. Williams, a physician says that the ears, nose and throat of the rock singer are "perfectly normal." Williams and members of her group, the defunct Plasmatics, have filed suit against Milwaukee police. Williams charges she suffered permanent damage as a result of their arrest three years ago. Charges against the group of presenting what police called an obscene performance were later dismissed. The suit asks for nearly $6 million. S. Frederick Horwitz, a specialist who examined the self-proclaimed high priestess of heavy metal, testified in Milwaukee Thursday during the Circuit Court trial. Horwitz said that Williams suffered from a treatable sinus condition but that it was not clear the condition was a result of a beating.
Singer alleges assault by police
MILWAUKEE (AP)--Punk rock singer Wendy O. Williams, saying she was a victim of a "pervasive climate of brutality" by Milwaukee police, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against officers who arrested her for an allegedly obscene performance a year ago.
The lead singer of the Plasmatics said she was beaten and sexually assaulted by officers outside the Palms nightclub Jan. 19, 1981.
"Today marks the first anniversary of a night in my life that I will never forget," Ms. Williams, 32, said Tuesday.
She was arrested for violating a city ordinance by making obscene motions while performing. The charge later was dropped, as were charges of battery to an officer and resisting an officer.
A jury found her manager, Rod Swenson, 36, innocent last June on a charge of resisting an officer.
Everyone knows it's Wendy
I'm a rock & roll singer, Plasmatics "vocalist" Wendy O. Williams. "I should be able to do what I want~ And by and large,that's what she did. Take, for example, her appearance this spring at the Licorice Pizza record store, in Los Angeles. "She started yelling about the kind of male organs she likes," reported an employee. "She was real vivid, and when a guyjumped onto the table, she started screaming at him to take his pants off." When the fan obliged, Williams lifted up her top and "started playing with herself."
Meanwhile, Williams beat obscenity raps in Milwaukee and Cleveland. Following her acquittal in the latter city, Wendy gave credit to her lawyer ("My attorney was an asshole").
That Was No Lady
A photographer's life isn't always a snap. Consider David Barnes, who was awaiting some corporate clients on the shore of Chicago's Lake Michigan when he got a tip from a passing bicyclist that a celeb was headed his way. So Barnes pointed his lens toward porn-star-turned- punk-rocker Wendy O. Williams, of the Plasmatics, who was out jogging. Though she often appears onstage clad only in electrical tape, clothespins or shaving cream above the waist, Williams is apparently sensitive about certain kinds of exposure.
The miffed rocker, who was clad in T-shirt and shorts, allegedly tore into Barnes with her fists and her red-white-and-blue glitter fingernails, but, he says, she ran away when a lifeguard surfaced. "Funny," said Barnes later, nursing a bunged head, "I usually like aggressive women."
Punk rocker sued for $1 million
CHICAGO (UPI)-- A photographer who claims punk rock singer Wendy O. Williams tried to physically injure him while he snapped candid shots of her has filed a $1 million civil suit against her.
The suit, tiled Wednesday by local freelance photographer David Barnes in federal court, asks $1 million in punitive damages and $100,000 in compensatory damages.
Barnes, 29, charged he was physically injured when Ms. Williams attacked him "without cause or provocation last July 14." The photographer said he was trying to a picture of the lead singer of the "Plasmatics" as she jogged along Oak Street Beach.
Ms. Williams, whose trademark is her mohawk style hairdo with a platinum blond streak down the middle, was charged with battery in the incident and placed on one year's court supervision.
Rock star sentenced in assault
CHICAGO (AP) -- Wendy O. Williams, the feisty and flamboyant singer for "The Plasmatics" rock group, has been sentenced to a year of court supervision for tussling with a free-lance photographer who took her picture as she jogged on a city beach.
The photographer, David Barnes, testified that after he took three pictures of the 30-year-old singer July 14, she tried to grab his camera, straddled his back and punched and kicked him in the back and head. He said she also spat at him and at a lifeguard who tried to stop the fight, and tried to throw the camera into Lake Michigan.
Ms. Williams, a New York City resident, was convicted Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court on a charge of battery.
Assistant state's attorney Robin Shapiro said Barnes will file a civil suit next week seeking about $1 million in punitive damages.
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