Anna Tang trial restarted today — Tang’s mental illness is central question

Michael Mufson

Anna Tang’s trial re-started today, after it had stopped June. The bulk of the day was testimony by her treating psychopharmocologist, Dr. Michael Mufson, as a witness for the defense. Mufson’s testimony held up fairly well under cross-examination, and supports a finding that she was not criminally responsible at the time of the stabbing because of her mental illness.

The trial ran from 9 a.m. at 3 p.m. today, and resumes tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The defense is expected to call Dr. Eric Brown, Tang’s psychologist, and the prosecution is expected to call Dr. Alison Fife.

Tang’s trial was halted on June 30 after the Commonwealth’s expert psychiatrist suddenly changed her mind and decided Tang might be criminally responsible for her actions. Tang’s lawyers accused victim Wolfe Styke’s mother of lobbying the psychiatrist:

The Commonwealth’s forensic psychiatrist in the case, Dr. Alison Fife, had submitted a report to the Court in May indicating that she believed Tang was not criminally responsible for the stabbing: that Tang did not appreciate the wrongfulness of her behavior and lacked the ability to conform her behavior to the requirements of the law.

On the basis of the Fife report, Tang waived her right to a jury trial and proceeded with a bench trial before the judge.

The defense alleged that victim’s mother, Gwen Styke, had “extensive contact” with Fife and that led to Fife “suddenly and belatedly” changing her opinion. George’s motion calls this part of “a series of untoward and disturbing events.” Styke denies meeting with Fife, and a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, Jessica Venezia Pastore, denies contact took place.

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