Domnica Cemortan, a Moldovan dancer and ship captain's lover, testified Tuesday that she was at the commander's post of the Costa Concordia ship with Francesco Schettino the night he smashed the cruise liner onto rocks off the coast of Italy last year.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Cemortan, 26, worked as a dancer
aboard the ship until December 2011, and was not employed there when she boarded without a ticket on Jan. 13, 2012. Prosecutors believe she may have distracted Schettino and caused him to steer the Costa Concordia onto the rocks of the Tuscan island Giglio during a "sail past," capsizing the ship and killing 32 of the 4,200 passengers.
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Schettino was charged with manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster, and abandoning ship with passengers still on board. His defense team argues the captain crashed because he was given bad navigation charts.
After being threatened with criminal contempt charges if she did not cooperate, Cemortan admitted on the stand Tuesday that she was indeed having an affair with Schettino and that he did invite her up to the bridge the night of the crash.
She had initially maintained that she had no romantic involvement with the married Schettino, and said she just dined with him on the night of Jan. 13 and stowed her luggage in his cabin so it wouldn’t be sitting in the hallway when she went to tour the bridge with him.
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