Richard Portale Representing Angelika Graswald in Murder Case

On May 13th, Angelika Graswald was charged with the second-degree murder of her fiancé, Vincent Viafore. Graswald’s bail was set at $3 million cash or $9 million bond.

The incident spurring her arrest occurred on April 19th when Graswald and Viafore were kayaking on the Hudson near Bannerman Island, the site of Bannerman Castle 50 miles north of New York City. After Viafore’s kayak capsized in rough water close to the island, Graswald attempted to help Viafore before calling the police for help. Shortly after, her own kayak capsized in the choppy water. Sadly, Viafore was not wearing a life jacket. After Graswald was rescued by members of the Cornwall Yacht Club, searchers went back out to look for Viafore to no avail.

On April 29th, Graswald was approached by state investigators who asked further questions about the incident. After providing allegedly conflicting statements, Graswald was held by the police for further questioning. As the legal representative of Angelika Graswald, Richard Portale called for her release prior to her indictment. “We’ve had hours of conversations with Ms. Graswald and I don’t know what evidence they could have, not only in the fact that there was a death, but that there was criminal means used to cause that death,” Portale argued.

Since then, Graswald has been formally indicted on a second-degree murder charge. Based on conflicting statements that Graswald provided to investigators, prosecutors believe that Graswald implicated herself in the death of her fiancé. After the hearing, Portale told reporters that there is “a really big difference” between inconsistencies in a story and a confession of guilt.

Portale went on to state that he believed that the statements Graswald provided to investigators were coerced. A native of Latvia, Graswald grew up speaking Russian and sometimes struggles to communicate in English.