updated 3/3/2004 5:32:23 PM ET 2004-03-03T22:32:23

A woman charged with causing a fatal car crash in 1999 says that she couldn’t have been behind the wheel because she was performing a sex act on the driver at the time.

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Heather Specyalski, 33, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the crash that killed businessman Neil Esposito. Prosecutors allege that she was driving Esposito’s Mercedes-Benz convertible when it veered off the road and hit several trees.

But Specyalski claims that Esposito was driving, and she was performing oral sex on him at the time, said her attorney, Jeremiah Donovan. He noted that Esposito’s pants were down when he was thrown from the car.

Superior Court Judge Robert L. Holzberg ruled Tuesday that Specyalski can proceed with the defense, despite objections by the prosecutor.

“A defendant has a right to offer a defense no matter how outlandish, silly or unbelievable one might think it will be,” Holzberg said. He added: “No one ever told me in law school that we’d be having these kinds of conversations in open court.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Maureen Platt said the defense is flawed.

“His pants could have been down because he was mooning a car he was drag racing,” Platt said. “His pants could have been down because he was urinating out of a window. His pants could have been down because he wasn’t feeling well.”

Also Tuesday, Holzberg denied Donovan’s motion to use gender as grounds to eliminate jurors. Donovan had argued that women would be biased and more likely to convict.

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