Ex-ASU Professor acquitted in Liberty Bell bomb casePosted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A former Arizona State University professor has been acquitted of allegations that he threatened screeners at Philadelphia's iconic Liberty Bell by telling them that he had explosives in his bags.
Forty-two-year-old Carlos Balsas had been in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail since he was arrested Jan. 26 on a felony bomb threat charge near Independence Mall.
Common Pleas Court Judge Diana Anhalt acquitted Balsas on Monday.
Balsas, a Portuguese citizen, called it a misunderstanding, saying he told the screener, "I have a bunch of exclusives" -- a literal translation of the Portuguese word for 'personal property.'
"We were getting calls from all over the world. People thought it put the United States in poor light, like we were the old Soviet Union, locking people up without reason or evidence," Balsas' attorney, Allan Sagot told 3TV from his office in Philadelphia.
He says his client is staying with family in Pennsylvania, and is "angry and frustrated" that he lost nine months of his life as the court process dragged.
ASU Professor John Meunier flew to Philadelphia to act as a character witness at the trial.
"My basic phrase was that he was an honorable gentleman," Meunier said.
"This man was in the process of being destroyed. His career, his personal life, destroyed, and this should not happen," Meunier added.
Balsas taught at ASU between 2004 and 2011. His attorney will work to get his record expunged.
Judge Anhalt said she would have convicted Balsas of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but he wasn't charged with those offenses.