Stand Up Comic Faces 5 Years in Prison for Independent Film


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This morning our own Jeffrey Gurian brought our attention to the plight of stand-up comic Carlo Bellario, who  is facing 5 years in prison for using a BB gun while filming an independent film. According to Jeffrey Gurian’s column this morning, Bellario got in touch with him to share the story. Bellario was filming a low budget indie film called Vendetta Games in New Jersey last November and was playing a drug dealer’s bodyguard. On Bellario says he had found the gig through a Facebook group that posts casting calls, and although the job didn’t pay, it would mean a IMDB credit.

During the filming, Bellario was pretending to fire an unloaded airsoft gun out the window of a car for a scene, but the problem was they were in a residential neighborhood, and someone called the cops.  Police charged him with weapons possession, because the filmmaker hadn’t secured the necessary permits.  Carlo was the only person arrested, and spent four days in jail because he couldn’t make bail. He could now face up to five years in prison because of New Jersey’s strict gun laws.  Under New Jersey’s Graves Act, a gun, is a gun, is a gun.  An Airsoft gun, or BB gun is treated exactly the same as any other gun and there isn’t an exception for acting unless the filmmaker procures a permit and complies with certain requirements.

Bellario cannot afford a lawyer, and has been forced to take his cause to a GoFundMe campaign and to the media to help raise money to pay his legal bills. Thanks to the GoFundMe he was able to satisfy his Bail Bondsman which he said “will give me a little breathing room” and says he has found attorneys willing to work with him. His GoFundMe campaign has raised $5,000 so far. Bellario is asking those in the entertainment industry (or anyone sympathetic to his situation) to please contribute even as little as a dollar.

Bellario’s story was picked up on Help Me Howard earlier this month on PIX 11.

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  1. ecupirate

    February 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Can we let this guy go and send gurian in his place

  2. galactictraveler

    February 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Taking a plea is his best shot .

  3. JimPatrick

    February 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    You would hope there would be some common sense exercised in law enforcement but no. This is another example of a reason to hate the police. A conversation, a search of the auto mobile and an inspection of the “weapon” at the scene should have been enough to let this guy go.

  4. stoogemcclassy

    February 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Thats what he gets for being a crazy, small dick, priviledged, gun nut…amirite!

  5. The Z

    February 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    JimPatrick It’s not the police (who are doing their jobs), it’s New Jersey ‘s crazy strict weapons laws.

  6. JimPatrick

    February 22, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Fuck that the cops are at fault as well. A rational decision could have been made at the scene by law enforcement so that a guys life wouldn’t be completely turned upside down, thrown in jail for 4 days and now having 5 years, when he was jeopardizing noone’s safety.

  7. Binary Daoist

    February 23, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I assume he is going to try and build a case against the producer/writer/director… All the same guy.

  8. The Unblinking Spyder

    February 23, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Good thing he was white, it could have been a much sadder story.

  9. RobHruska

    March 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    More crazy gun laws. A BB gun is legally the same as a pistol? An AIRSOFT gun? How about if I hold a banana like a gun. Is that legally a gun too? Absurd.

  10. KCJames

    March 2, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Out of control gun laws….stupidity to impact someone’s life in this manner. There has to be good judgement to go along with laws…..nothing is black and white.