On Saturday’s radio show Bob and I chatted a little bit about a cease and desist letter I received as a direct result of a blog post last Wednesday.
I received the cease and desist letter via email from the law firm of Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC. They are representing Morris County freeholder Tom Mastrangelo who happens to be on tomorrow’s primary election ballot. The firm represented Mastrangelo three years ago when he filed criminal charges against me and the three freeholder candidates I was working with. The case was eventually dismissed “due to insufficient evidence.”
I have a framed copy of the dismissal proudly displayed in my home:
Oh! I forgot to mention, the last time I checked the law firm representing Mastrangelo happened to be on the Special County Counsel list. I’m not a lawyer, but if they’re still on that list there may be some sort of a conflict.
“Insufficient evidence.” In other words I was never given any evidence the record was expunged, despite three different lawyers asking for that evidence.
Anyway, last Wednesday’s blog post for those of you who haven’t read it talked about a mailer that used a “phony paid for by line.” I said in the post that it was “cowardly” to use a “phony paid for by line.” I truly believe it was cowardly. I practice hardball politics often, but always stand by my work.
The mailer with the phony paid for by line just happened to include a police report that Mastrangelo alleges was expunged. Never mind the fact he said the same thing three years ago and the case was dismissed for insufficient evidence.
What I really found interesting was that shortly after I shared the blog post to my personal Facebook page Johnson McWilliams used the comments section to attack Bob Greco, my radio show co-host and McWilliams’s comments were removed at almost the exact same time I received the cease and desist letter via email.
Could the deletion of McWilliams comments at the same time I received the cease and desist letter from Mastrangelo’s lawyer be a coincidence? It could be, but allegedly Johnson McWilliams is one of several of Mastrangelo’s phony Facebook accounts, so I doubt it was coincidence.
At the time of the comments it appeared Mastrangelo/McWilliams was more concerned that I referred to him as a “scumbag” for once throwing his own son under the bus by denying he sent him to video an event hosted by his opponents.
I standby the scumbag comment because what kind of person would knowingly lie about sending his son to record an event:
As to the cease and desist letter. That law firm can pound sand because, according to the New Jersey State Supreme Court, “The issue before us arises in the realm of political discourse, where speech is often harsh and caustic, but where the constitutional guarantee of free expression is given great latitude. Although our expungement statute relieves a prior offender of some civil disabilities, it does not extinguish the truth.” G.D. v. Kenny, 205 N.J. 275, 283 (N.J. 2011)
While I still think the designer/sender of the mail piece in question is a coward for using a phony paid for by line it doesn’t change the truth.
And, while on the subject of truth I still think any elected official who hides behind fake Facebook accounts and who lies about his own son to save his political hide is truly a scumbag.
You have some interesting choices in tomorrow’s election Morris County!
And just for fun, here’s the cease and desist letter: