The police indicted both Aaron and Morgan on weapons charges. Morgan’s family immediately began trying to absolve her of the more serious offenses and blame them on Aaron. “He’s trying to pin it all on her,” Susyn told one reporter. Morgan’s criminal-defense attorney, Gerald Shargel, maintains that “Morgan did not have the upper hand in this relationship” and “her will was often overcome by Aaron’s personality and the nature of the relationship.” The police seemed to focus on Aaron, too. By the time members of the Occupy movement disavowed the talk that Aaron was ever involved in the group, the police had begun probing a possible Nazi link. In the 9th Street apartment, they had found a letter, undated and unsent, that Aaron had written to a friend upstate, in which Aaron had said his parents were worried he would “kill 100 people” and had sent him to Greece. Elsewhere in the same letter, Aaron had scrawled the word kill and the phrase kill them all and scribbled what looked like an SS symbol. In January, police searched the home of the friend, Daniel Whittaker, in Orangeburg, finding 21 guns, brass knuckles, two stun guns, and a switchblade. Whittaker was a prison guard who was under suspension on a drug charge (he was later acquitted). He was charged with misdemeanor weapons possession.
Aaron’s lawyers, Charles Clayman and Isabelle Kirshner, have contested the Nazi claim, noting that Aaron had relatives who died in the Holocaust and accusing the police of spreading “innuendos, half-truths, and slurs.” When I asked Aaron about being a Nazi, he laughed. “I do some interesting doodles,” he said. “If someone saw them and made some conclusion because of that, then that’s wrong.” He was quick to note that he is half-Jewish, on his father’s side. “I’ve been to, like, a zillion Seders.” Of the idea that he planned to blow up the Washington Square arch, Aaron said, “Bullshit! I loved that arch. I studied art. I never would have done anything to that arch or that park.” He told me several times that Morgan had nothing to do with the weapons and that his interest in them involved “no ill intent.” A friend of Morgan’s who stayed with them for a few weeks attests to that. “He had weird shit,” the friend says. “He had a gas mask they traded for drugs. He made knives. But he never showed me guns in a threatening way. He showed me in a friendly, ‘Isn’t this cool?’ way.”
“Aaron comes from a caring, loving family,” Clayman told reporters at his arraignment. “Unfortunately, this is another example of the pain and destruction of drug addiction.” But the NYPD believes there were plenty of reasons to treat the case as it has. “There were two shotguns,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said in January. “There were high-capacity magazines. I think that gives us pause for thought as to whether or not we should pay attention to the statement about whether or not someone is going to blow up anything.”
Aaron and his attorneys have so far not been able to win him the right to see Morgan or meet Melody. Morgan’s family seems determined to write him out of their daughter’s life. “Paul and Susyn and their children are a wonderful family, and Morgan is a great mom,” says Martha Cohen Stine, the lawyer representing the Gliedmans in Family Court. “The Gliedmans stand by their daughter. They love their granddaughter very much. Morgan is starting a new chapter where she can go forward and care for her baby. And Morgan and the family are relieved that she is extricated from Aaron.” In February, Morgan, having completed inpatient rehab, was granted the right to supervised overnight visits with the baby. Since then, Stine says, she has been living with the baby at her parents’ place. At her most recent court appearance, Morgan was smiling and showing off cell-phone photos of Melody.
Aaron is realistic about his near-term future. He expects he’ll be in jail for as many as ten years. But after that, he hopes to have a life with Morgan and Melody, all of them together. (His parents have filed their own petition for custody of the baby; it’s pending in Family Court.) Aaron says he has no idea whether Morgan would want him in Melody’s life or what she thinks of him now. But he says he believes Morgan might really want to get clean, now that she has a purpose. “Addiction isn’t something you’re born with,” he says. “It’s something you afflict on yourself.” Several of Morgan’s friends agree. “Morgan has wanted a child since we were children,” says one. “If anything would get her clean, it would be having a child,” says another.
At NYU, before her drug problems became full-blown, Morgan wrote a story about a teenage girl trying to decide whether to have an abortion. The girl in the story can’t stop fantasizing about the baby inside her and the life she might have, sometime in the future. “Like people do,” she wrote, “we had some sex. Like people who want to love each other do, we tried not to think. And this is what happens. A present or a prison. A little me, a little him. A Polly Pocket who would have a summer birthday, his brown eyes, my pale skin, a too young mom and a too confused dad. It could be worse.”