A criminal defense lawyer from Montgomery County withdrew a guilty plea as he was scheduled for sentencing Friday in the rape of a 22-year-old client, opting to go to trial in February.
Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. had entered his plea in October to one count of rape but reversed course Friday after Judge Steven T. O'Neill reviewed statements he made in presentencing interviews, and ordered him to meet with his attorney to consider whether he wished to withdraw his plea.
"He was uncomfortable pleading guilty," his attorney, Nino Tinari, told reporters Friday. "He asserts his innocence and wants a jury to determine the outcome."
Cirillo, 56, of Gladwyne, was arrested in 2015 on charges of rape of an unconscious victim, rape of a substantially impaired person, and three other felonies.
The woman told police she had hired Cirillo to represent her in a criminal matter. He went to her home for a meeting about the case, she told police, and she believes Cirillo drugged her, because he encouraged her to drink alcohol and she became too impaired to stand. Someone later found her unconscious on her bed in only her underwear, and prosecutors found photographs of her unconscious in bed on Cirillo's phone.
After she reported the incident to police, detectives arranged surveillance as she met with Cirillo, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case, and he admitted having sex with her.
Cirillo is the son of the late Superior Court Judge Vincent A. Cirillo.
Cirillo faces charges in another case, in which he is accused of impersonating the woman's attorney in an attempt to obtain her confidential court records. Assistant District Attorney M. Stewart Ryan said he may seek to introduce those allegations as evidence at the rape trial.
Ryan said he had suspected that the plea might be withdrawn because Cirillo "essentially recanted different elements of the offense that he pleaded guilty to" in presentence interviews.
The woman, Ryan said, will be ready to testify at trial. "She was prepared in October, and she'll be ready in February," he said.
Cirillo, who has been in the county prison since he was charged in the identity-theft case a week before his initial rape-trial date, said nothing as he was led from the courtroom in handcuffs Friday.