STOUGHTON, Mass. — Norfolk Superior Court Judge Peter Krupp denied a request from Aidan Kearney, the blogger from Massachusetts known as “Turtleboy,” to remove an order that prevents him from contacting people connected to the Karen Read murder case.
As Boston 25 reported earlier this month, Kearney petitioned Judge Krupp to remove the stay away/no contact order that was imposed on him at Stoughton District Court, following his arrest on charges of witness intimidation, conspiracy, and picketing a court proceeding.
Kearney claims that Read had been framed in a coverup over the death of Boston police officer John O’Keefe in Canton and has publicly accused people the state has identified as witnesses in the case.
In the 21-page decision, Judge Krupp wrote the “defendant has berated witnesses in the Read case, badgered them although they have indicated that they do not wish to speak to him, and pressured them to change their testimony. Defendant has been able to increase his following substantially - based on monthly page views and viewership - with his confrontational stories, live videos, and inflammatory blog posts about the Read case.”
Judge Krupp did find the District Court order, “ambiguous” because it did not include the distance Kearney must remain from the 8 individuals. He wrote, “District Court did not provide defendant with sufficient information so that he could conform his conduct to the court’s order.”
In response, Judge Krupp amended the order adding that Kearney must remain 100 feet from the individuals he’s been told to stay away from. He ruled that Kearney can continue to report on the Read case and attend hearings, even if that brings him closer than 100 feet from the named witnesses.
“Here, defendant has a journalistic interest in reporting on the Read case, which should be able to be accommodated by the court officers in the controlled environment of the courthouse,” Krupp wrote.
In a statement, Kearney’s attorney Tim Bradl called the ruling a split decision and said he’s weighing an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
“We expect an appellate court to uphold Mr. Kearney’s, and everyone’s First Amendment rights to exhort witnesses to tell the truth and if that is an effort to change their testimony, it would be a change for the better, and must be protected under the First Amendment. If such efforts also caused emotional upset or economic harm, that is not something that is criminalized under our bill of rights,” Bradl said.
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