Wally the Beer Man's fate in hands of jurors

Categories: Crime
Thumbnail image for freewally.jpg
McNeil's fans launched a "Free Wally" campaign after his arrest.
The reputation of Minneapolis's most famous beer vendor is now in the hands of a jury.

Jurors heard final arguments today in the trial of Walter McNeil, better known as Wally the Beer Man. According to the charges, McNeil sold beer to two underage buyers during a sting operation at a Twins game last fall.

Peter Wold, McNeil's attorney, argues that the underaged buyers--who were working for the Minneapolis Police Department--used "underhanded tactics" to entrap his client, including lying about their ages and dressing to look older.

"It's a clear case of entrapment, and I hope the jury agrees with us," says Wold.

After more than 40 years of selling beer, McNeil's become a familiar face to Minnesota sports fans. So when he was arrested with eight other vendors last September, McNeil-friendlies quickly came to his aid.

A "Free Wally" campaign quickly emerged on Facebook and Twitter. A company even started selling "Free Wally" T-shirts.

Sneaky Pete's hired McNeil to sell beer during Twins playoff games after his suspension.

Last Friday, McNeil testified that he didn't ask the two buyers for their IDs, but they volunteered being 21.

Justin Pasquale, one of the buyers, told the court a very different story. Pasquale says he never mentioned his age, and McNeil never asked.

It's now up to a jury to decide who's lying.

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