A defense lawyer interjected: "The plaintiffs should have been equally cautious."
Testifying in Agaccio's behalf was Louis Alterio, president of the p�tanque federation. He said:
"Agaccio is a p�tanque player of admirable conduct; he is a worthy representative of French p�tanque in foreign competitions. He has hoisted the French tricolor high in international competition. I wish to salute him here." Thunderous applause.
Judge Vincentelli asked Defendant Maurice Donnat: "Didn't you find it curious that every time someone was brought to see the old man, Ivaldi was playing p�tanque and losing money?" Replied the witness: "A simple coincidence, Monsieur le Pr�sident."
Defense attorneys introduced a fishmonger named Fran�ois Corso, who claimed he defeated Ivaldi and won money from him. "I took, one look at the old man and I said to myself, he's not a pigeon, he's a dove! I've lost money in casinos and on horse tracks. For once I was a winner! And then the police arrest the old man. Me, I haven't got millions. If some people throw millions around, it's only right that others should profit from them."
Of two dozen pigeons asking damages, only 16 continued to press charges. The rest were afraid of public ridicule and figured they couldn't get the money back anyway.
Moan of a pigeon
One pigeon, Dominique Pascal, who is in the plumbing business, said: "They talked about a $40,000 plumbing contract. So I played p�tanque and lost $4,000. Ceccaldi took me to a pizzeria to console me. But I wasn't hungry," he added wistfully.
But the high in naivet� was hit by a Marseille furniture store owner, Fran�ois Massimelli. He fell for the line that an eccentric old millionaire film producer was looking for furniture to decorate Brigitte Bardot's villa. Defense Attorney Tramoni asked: "Did you really imagine that your merchandise was good enough for Brigitte Bardot?" "No," admitted Massimelli finally.
"That question was out of order," the judge ruled.