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Cunningham acquitted on two charges

A guide from the Hudson River Rafting Company takes clients down the Hudson River in North River May 5, 2012 during the White Water Derby.

A guide from the Hudson River Rafting Company takes clients down the Hudson River in North River May 5, 2012 during the White Water Derby. Photo by Andy Flynn.

SPECULATOR — A Hamilton County grand jury Thursday, Jan. 17 found the owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company not guilty on two criminal charges.

The grand jury acquitted Patrick Cunningham, 73, of North Creek, on Jan. 17 on two misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges in which he had been accused of endangering the safety of two passengers during a 2010 rafting trip down the Hudson River.

Cunningham’s lawyer, Joseph Brennan, said throughout the case the prosecution had no evidence to support there had been a criminal violation of the charges.

Cunningham did not testify during the trial, according to Brennan, and could not be reached for comment.

Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha Purdue said she had anticipated the case being difficult because the crime of reckless endangerment is difficult to prove.

“The reckless endangerment charges are not matched with any physical injury,” she said. “They are two separate charges. What we have to prove is potential risk of physical injury. I knew it would be difficult to prove, but I felt we needed to go forward with the case anyway.”

Cunningham will stand trial again in mid-February for two additional misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment from an incident on May 27, 2012, according to Purdue.

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