Most young marrieds reminisce about their wedding.
Few do it on the witness stand, testifying in the assault trial of their best man.
At least for Michael Sofka and Nicole Sannuti-Sofka, recounting those memories at best man Matthew Sofka's trial Thursday ended better than the post-wedding party three years ago, when Matthew Sofka was arrested for assaulting a Philadelphia police sergeant during an alcohol-fueled melee at the Sheraton Society Hill.
After a three-hour nonjury trial, Common Pleas Court Judge Giovanni O. Campbell acquitted Sofka, 29.
"This was an unfortunate event for everyone, but there is also ample room for doubt," Campbell said.
Defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. said Sofka - who has sued and is being sued as a result of the early morning brawl in October 2012 - declined to comment.
Sofka testified in his defense. He denied striking or kicking any officers, and said he believed the three who testified against him Thursday were lying.
Afterward, Sofka left the courtroom to the cheers and applause of about 25 friends and relatives, most of whom were also character witnesses.
The day did not end as well for another guest at the wedding. Earlier Thursday, Brian J. Lanza, 32, of Westfield, N.J., pleaded guilty to simple assault in a deal with prosecutors and was immediately sentenced to two years of probation.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Krouse said Lanza climbed atop a table and kicked Sgt. Sean Dandridge several times in the head.
The incident drew international attention because of a 72-second video shot by a 15-year-old Camp Hill, Pa., boy, Max Schultz, who was visiting Philadelphia with his parents for his birthday. The video went viral.
From an upper-story room with a balcony overlooking the lobby and bar, the boy heard noise from below and began recording as police struggled to control the crowd.
The video, with a voice-over by Max, shows Sannuti-Sofka and her best man's date, Makyla Nichols, being shoved to the floor as police subdue Matthew Sofka with collapsible wands known as "asps" before he is stunned with a Taser.
"Oh, my God," says Max in narration, "did they just deck the bride?"
About the only thing all witnesses agreed on was that what happened about 1:30 a.m. was "pure chaos."
Sannuti-Sofka testified that her wedding and reception was held on the evening of Oct. 6, at Vie restaurant at 600 N. Broad St. The party then moved to the Sheraton, on Dock Street, where the Sofkas, who live in North Jersey, and their friends were staying overnight.
Sannuti-Sofka said that when they got to the hotel bar, another wedding party was already there. She said there were about 100 people in the bar and lobby, the other bride was crying, and people were arguing and fighting.
Police arrived, she said, and were "extremely aggressive" in handling the situation.
She said she and Nichols were pushed to the ground by police. As Matthew Sofka was helping Nichols get up, he was seized by police, beaten, and subdued.
Sanutti-Sofka choked up when she testified that, after the melee, she learned that her uncle Vincent Sannuti, 57, had a fatal heart attack after leaving the hotel.
Police Officers Mario Deluca and Ruth Colon testified that they saw Matthew Sofka push Dandridge to the ground, punch and kick him, and wrestle with him before he was subdued.
Matthew Sofka testified that he remembered nothing after he was Tasered by DeLuca and Dandridge, who sustained a concussion and was unable to work for 31/2 months. He said he remembered nothing except being jumped from behind by two men.
Dandridge described the scene when he arrived as "out of control."
"People were being very disrespectful to us, belligerent, and a lot of people were very intoxicated," Dandridge testified.
"Fights were going on around us," said Dandridge, who is now a lieutenant. "In my 21 years, that was probably the most scared I've been. We were outnumbered, and people weren't listening. It was scary."