Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Rustarmenia Pearlman, a 21-year-old woman charged with discharging a gun on the set of a TLC reality show in which she worked as a stunt double, faces a trial next summer over an alleged case of “accidental discharge,” her attorneys said in a court filing.
A Georgia man is suing The Players’ Club, the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office and host Mark McGrath after he said he was shot by the live rounds he dismounted from his motorcycle and discarded on the set of “Cake Boss.” He is seeking $100,000 in damages.
According to defense attorneys for Rustarmenia Pearlman, their client — and TLC — “intend to argue that these actions were unintentional and are contending that there was no purposeful discharge of the live ammunition.”
“This story never should have played out, and we look forward to making that clear at trial,” Charles Battle of the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner said in a statement.
Battle added that he believed TLC and its production company, High Noon Entertainment, did not know how the live rounds got on the set.
On the show, Sandro “Cornelio” Mazzilli (not pictured above) works at New York’s Tea Time Tea Room and is an avid motorcycle and sports car rider. During a February 27 episode, Mazzilli is shown climbing out of his motorcycle after wrapping up a scene with McGrath, a Kiss guitarist, and the O’Brien and Marietta SWAT teams.
“You got all the ammo, I got all the ammo,” Mazzilli tells McGrath, tossing his backpack into the man’s arms. “Nothing to worry about. Let’s go.”
As McGrath and the SWAT team members prepared to leave, Mazzilli can be seen throwing his backpack over his shoulder and dismounting onto a traffic island.
“I was just having fun,” Mazzilli said in an interview with CNN affiliate WFTS at the time. “I got enough ammo to kill a lot of guys.”
Mazzilli’s bike crashed into a fence on the left side of the street, and according to the Sheriff’s Office, a 26-round clip that contained live rounds fell out on the left side.
Steven Clifford, attorney for plaintiff Scott Bagley, said he has not seen the entirety of the motions.
Court documents allege Bagley, who was renting a bedroom in Mazzilli’s house, was riding his motorcycle in front of the rap artist’s house when the live round came loose, struck him and traveled through his body, lodging in his head.
A representative for the O’Brien and Marietta SWAT team declined to comment.
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Battle said that case files show Bagley could have hit other people, including his wife.
“Someone could have run down with it,” he said.
The Marion County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office has not commented on that allegation, Battle said.
Mazzilli was arrested in May and charged with two felony counts of improper exhibition of a firearm and discharging a firearm in public.
A deposition signed by Pearlman shows she was hired by the Sheriff’s Office as a worker-bee on the day of the shooting to provide stands for the SWAT team. She was given $8 an hour plus expenses to be on set with them.
On May 16, Bagley filed a lawsuit in Marion County, Florida, against Pearlman, Fintown, Oak Park and the Sheriff’s Office, according to court documents.
The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence, seeking $1 million in damages for the “reckless and negligent acts” of the defendants. The plaintiff’s alleged injuries were caused by the Defendants’ “action(s) to prevent Plaintiff from leaving Plaintiff’s house without destroying the live ammunition or shooting it.”
The lawsuit also names as defendants Movie City News, a television news outlet that posted to social media images that were similar to those in the case. An attorney for Movie City News has not responded to requests for comment.
The case was not without a hiccup. On June 6, 2018, the court ordered the defendants to provide a sworn statement disputing “the false statements of defendant Pearlman about what actually happened.” The parties will have the opportunity to give sworn statements that they assert occurred in the deposition.
In a Sept. 13, 2018, motion for reconsideration, the court entered judgment for the plaintiffs, saying they had met the burden of proof “fostering belief that defendant Bagley was not among those shot.”