Gerald Ung (left) and Edward DiDonato Jr. (right)

Well that didn’t take long, did it? The jury in the case of Commonwealth v. Ung began deliberations at 11:32 a.m., and it just returned a verdict of “not guilty,” around 4 p.m. Eastern time. Gerald Ung, the Temple Law student who was charged with attempted murder in connection with a January 2010 shooting in the Old City section of Philadelphia, has been acquitted.

This news might not come as a huge shock. In our reader poll, over 90 percent of you said you’d vote “not guilty” if you were jurors.

Congratulations to Ung — who testified on his own behalf yesterday, arguing that he acted in self-defense — and to Ung’s very fine defense lawyer, the renowned Jack McMahon.

Does this mean that Gerald Ung, 29, gets his life back? Can things go back to normal for him and for the Ung family?

Not necessarily. For starters, Eddie DiDonato Jr., 24, a former lacrosse star at Villanova and the son of a well-connected partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, might file a civil suit against Ung. As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, DiDonato was shot six times and now suffers from partial paralysis of his lower extremities.

In addition, the services of Jack McMahon don’t come cheap. The Ungs easily owe McMahon six figures.

All this might explain why Ung didn’t exactly jump for joy this afternoon. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, upon learning of the verdict, “Ung had no expression. Moments later, he started crying, sat down and clasped his hands together as if praying.”

What’s next for Ung? Will he return to his legal studies — the Inky refers to him as a “former” Temple Law student — or has his brush with the law been too traumatic?

We’ll keep you posted. If you have information about Ung that hasn’t appeared in the public record yet — perhaps some of you are his law school classmates or friends? — please feel free to email us or text us (646-820-TIPS / 646-820-8477).

UPDATE (5 PM): In the comments to this post, some of you have asked about donating to defray some of Ung’s legal expenses. You can do that over at The Gerald Ung Legal Defense Fund.

UPDATE (5:30 PM): Sebastian has this commentary over at Snowflakes in Hell:

I’ve often said we don’t have a justice system, we have a legal system. Well, sometimes it’s a justice system, and such was the case here. One of the great legal innovations of English Law was trial by jury, in which the people retain an important check on governmental power. It worked here. This case never should have been brought to trial, but it was, and the system worked. The only unfortunate thing is that Gerald Ung will now be helping make payments on Jack McMahon’s Porsche well into his 40s (I kid, I don’t even know if he has a Porsche, but Ung legal bills are going to be steep).

Well, Sebastian, if it makes you feel better, remember that Jack McMahon was a prosecutor for years before becoming a defense attorney. And we all know how poorly prosecutors are paid. So high-earning years as a defense lawyer in private practice just make up for McMahon’s time as an impoverished prosecutor.

Temple student not guilty in Old City shooting [Philadelphia Daily News]
Ex-Temple student acquitted in Old City shooting [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Gerald Ung


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