Stefan Arzberger, who was accused of attempted murder after breaking naked into a Manhattan hotel room and assaulting its female occupant, pleaded guilty yesterday in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan to the lesser charge of reckless assault in the third degree.
Prosecutors then agreed to drop the main charge. Arzberger, former first violin in the Leipzig String Quartet, was given back his EU passport and told he could leave the US.
According to Newsday: Prosecutors said they accepted the plea after considering a number of factors, including the fact that no discernible motive was found, that the accusations deviated from Arzberger’s normal behavior and questions were raised about his criminal responsibility.
The incident occurred in March last year, while the quartet were on a US tour. Full details here.
Arzeberger, now 43, maintained he had gone to a bar where his drink was spiked, got picked up by a trans prostitute and was left naked and incoherent, searching for his room in the hotel.
His wife and friends stood by him throughout the ordeal and a fund was raised to support his living expenses in New York. He had to resign from the quartet, which needed to continue playing internationally.
He can now put the whole torrid period behind him and resume his career without a criminal record.
Update: The Leipzig Quartet has posted the following contentious message, criticising the US justice system and regretting that the claims against Arzberger had not been tested and dismissed in court:
Ende einer Dienstfahrt: wir sind erleichtert und bestürzt zugleich. Keine Frage, niemand hat hier an die Stichhaltigkeit der unsinnigen Vorwürfe geglaubt. Bestürzt, weil ein unmenschliches Rechtssystem keinen Halt kennt. “Ass-hoolys” haben versucht, auch das Quartett zu zerstören. DANK AN ALLE UNTERSTÜTZER!