DEDHAM, Mass. — A search warrant used last week to seize two phones belonging to Karen Read of Mansfield was unsealed today at Norfolk Superior Court.
The warrant is connected to a witness intimidation investigation being run by Ken Mello, a special prosecutor hired by the Norfolk District Attorney. It’s the same investigation that produced a 16-count indictment against Aidan Kearney, the blogger known as “Turtleboy” in December. Kearney has been accused of intimidating people the DA’s office has identified as witnesses in Read’s second-degree murder case.
Kearney has aggressively advocated for Read on his website and other social media platforms. He claims she’s been framed in a wide-ranging cover-up.
The warrant was written by State Police Detective Brian Tully. He alleges Read entered into an agreement with Kearney “by providing information, photography, material relative to her criminal defense, and editorial oversight of blog posts and videos intended to harass, intimidate, and cause emotional harm.”
Tully alleges there is probable cause to believe Read conspired with Kearney to intimidate witnesses in her murder case. He indicates there were 189 calls between two phones owned by Kearney and a phone owned by Read. The two also communicated on the encrypted messaging service Signal, according to Tully’s warrant.
A college friend of Read’s from California named Natalie Wiweke Bershneider initially acted as an intermediary between Read and Kearney when the two began communicating in April 2023, according to the warrant. Wiweke Bershneider has since ended her friendship with Read and has been cooperating with the Massachusetts State Police.
“It appeared most of the messages sent by Natalie were authored by Karen. For example, messages would start with ‘tell TB [Turtleboy]’, ‘From Karen:’, or ‘Not for public but you and Aidan can see ..., ‘”
“Natalie stated the content of the messages shared by Karen to her were Karen’s defense of the charges, including information regarding witnesses, the home address of Trooper Michael Proctor, pictures of witnesses, autopsy photographs, motions filed by her attorneys, police reports, photographs taken by the MSP Crime Scene Services Section, and feedback about Kearney’s blog posts.”
In an April 2023 text message, Wiweke Bershneider allegedly told Kearney, “Not public: the feds have been involved longer than anyone is likely guessing” and then the following month she texted, “NOT PUBLIC: Levy confirmed no swarms of FBI were in Canton two days ago. The reference to Levy is most likely United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts First Assistant US Attorney Joshua Levy.”
Joshua Levy is now the Acting US Attorney for Massachusetts and according to the warrant is directly involved in the federal probe.
25 Investigates’ sources and court documents from Read’s murder case confirm the existence of the federal investigation connected to the arrest and prosecution of Read for the January 29, 2022 death of her Boston Police Officer boyfriend John O’Keefe in Canton. Sources say FBI agents have been in Canton speaking to people about Read’s murder case. The US Attorney’s office has declined to comment.
Read’s defense team has filed a motion to sanction and disqualify the Norfolk DA’s office from her murder case. In their filing, they allege law enforcement planted evidence and withheld information about the federal investigation.
The search warrant alleges Read, “took steps to provide Kearney non-public information while appearing to be distant” and Read was “controlling what he can publish publicly.”
It describes a lunch meeting Kearney allegedly had with Read and her attorneys at the Omni Seaport, following a May 2023 court hearing.
Kearney’s former girlfriend is also referenced in the warrant.
She told state police investigators, “Karen Read was interviewed by federal law enforcement” according to the warrant.
In a statement, Kearney’s lawyer, Bradl, calls the affidavit an investigation without a crime:
I read the search warrant affidavit unsealed today in the Karen Read matter. It appears to be a single spaced 30 page story about how the state police went to unbelievable lengths (taxpayer funded trip to California!) to try to establish … drumroll …that Aidan Kearney and Karen read communicated with each other. It is an investigation without a crime. It appears to me that there is zero evidence that Karen Read intended or had anything to do with any witness intimidation or interference, and rather is a woman fighting for her life as a target of a murder charge.
She is entitled to wield inalienable rights under the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments to defend herself. She also has a special right under our Massachusetts Constitution, which precedes and is the model for our US Constitution, in its Article 12, “to produce all proofs that may be favorable to [her].” This provision gives her broad rights and privileges to explore all avenues in her defense--a sacrosanct right to defend herself. She can share information with whomever she wants, speak out against her enemies, associate with anyone she pleases, and seek to keep it secret if she wants. It is chilling to read about law enforcement poring through defense phone records and texts intended to be private and confidential, and then laying out these protected and legal actions as if they are elements of a crime in an effort to destroy her.
The prosecution is doubling down on defective theories of witness intimidation that we are in the process of attacking at the SJC in Mr. Kearney’s case. Every freedom-loving citizen in the Commonwealth needs to hope and pray that the SJC finally takes up the matter and takes down the witness intimidation statute, the most odious intrusion on our rights since the bill of attainder or the writs of assistance.
The only crime here is the robbery of privacy.— Timothy J. Bradl, Esq.
Read’s lawyers declined to comment.
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