NORWALK, Conn. – The drama is over, folks – State’s Attorney David Cohen has declined to sign the warrant drawn up for my arrest, according to my lawyer. The case is closed, unless further evidence turns up.
I’m going to get away with this heinous crime!
I assume you know what I’m talking about: RecorderGate, the topic of a raucous council meeting on Jan. 8. Does anyone care anymore?
I do. I feel like a weight has lifted.
If you’ve been reading the papers you know the story: While working for The Daily Voice, I accidentally recorded a conversation between Mayor Richard Moccia, Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Bruce Mellion and Norwalk Association of School Administrators President Tony Ditrio at the June 26, 2012, Common Council meeting. During a recess, I absent-mindedly left the recorder on and walked away and the group walked over and assembled next to it and held a conversation just a few feet away from several other people. I thought there was newsworthy content on this recording. I ran it by my editor; we decided to do a story. As journalistic protocol dictates, we drafted an email and I sent it to the mayor, giving him a chance to comment or talk to my editor about it. He screamed “Foul!” (well, he didn’t actually say that word, but it’s the gist) and my editor backed down.
Corporation Counsel Robert Maslan sent me a threatening email, accusing me of breaking the law, a “serious matter.” Moccia or Maslan called the state police.
Here’s something you don’t know: I am told this is because the mayor didn’t like my body language on the night in question.
That’s right, I was threatened with arrest because of a smirk, according to Patch reporter Harold Cobin. My family is never going to let me forget this (my husband nicknamed me “Smirky”)!
Some weeks ago, I was given the terms of an agreement, with the promise that, if I signed it, charges would be dropped.
You can read the agreement below.
I hated it. Thankfully, my family supported me in not going that route. I am not signing anything that simultaneously says I haven’t done anything wrong and yet contains an apology and, in places, rewrites history.
So I took the risk of getting arrested. We gave the mayor an alternative version, with the parts I deemed most offensive deleted. I honestly thought that was a reasonable out for him.
Rather than shut me up, the mayor tried to get me arrested. The ball went back to the court of the State’s Attorney, according to Attorney Bob Bello, my lawyer.
Thankfully, Cohen seems to be a reasonable person. No blood, no foul, except that I quit my job over The Daily Voice’s handling of the episode (the final straw in a growing rift over the company’s growing desire to tiptoe around the mayor).
Of course, that led to NancyOnNorwalk, where the mission is to shine the light on Norwalk’s government — it’s decisions and the way it does its business in the taxpayers’ name. It’s a dirty job, but some news outlet has to do it.
Moccia-Maslan proposed agreement
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