Angelika Graswald learned the news on Memorial Day

By Diane Herbst
Updated May 27, 2015 10:50 AM
Advertisement
Credit: New York State Police/LANDOV

Prosecutors say Angelika Graswald felt happy as she watched her fiancé drown in the frigid waters of the Hudson River on April 19. But Graswald’s defense team insists she felt no joy that night and “was upset” when they broke the news that Vincent Viafore’s body had been recovered from the river on Saturday.

“In her heart she really knew she had lost him [on April 19], and to keep her head right, she had created this glimmer of hope he was alive,” Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale, tells PEOPLE. “But deep down she knew she lost him in the river.”

Portale broke the news to Graswald Monday with co-counsel Jeff Chartier at the Orange County Jail, where she’s being held on $3 million cash bail.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Graswald intended to kill Viafore before setting out on a kayak trip to Bannerman Island, removing a plug from the boat and tampering with his paddle. Once he was in the water, she pulled his paddle from him as he struggled in the freezing river.

In a murder indictment filed Tuesday, prosecutors also said they have written and oral statements from Graswald as evidence. But Portale says the government’s case is based on interviews that were not audio- or video-recorded and that Graswald, a native of Latvia, can be easily misunderstood.

“They want us to believe their interpretation and observations,” he tells PEOPLE. “How much can we trust their judgment? They say now all of a sudden she pulled the paddle away from him. How? She probably did pull it towards herself but he was supposed to be holding on. But that doesn’t fit their narrative.”

Graswald is due to be arraigned in Orange County Court Friday.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.