Attorney for man charged with assaulting John DePetro says his client has become ‘target’ of the radio host
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — The attorney representing the man accused of assaulting Rhode Island radio talk show host John DePetro said his client has become a “target” of the radio host.
Attorney John Calcagni acknowledged his Mark Perkins was a person of interest in the missing person case of Charlotte Lester, but that Perkins has been cooperating with police and has not been charged.
“Since his name surfaced as a person of interest, he has become the target of continuous reporting by the controversial journalist, John DePetro,” said Calcagni in a statement.
“We take the position that the manner, style, and frequency of his reporting of Mr. Perkins (and his family members) crossed the line from constitutionally protected to unlawful harassment,” continued Calcagni.
The attorney said that DePetro has been subject of several police complaint by Perkins and other neighbors and that DePetro constant visits and coverage in the neighborhood is “designed to pervasively defame, harass, and interfere with Mr. Perkins’ right to the quiet use and enjoyment of his property.”
Calcagni cited DePetro’s arrest for trespassing Tuesday and acknowledged the altercation Wednesday that led to Perkins arrest and now a no contact order has been issued between the Perkins and DePetro.
“As for Mr. DePetro who apparently instigated the incident, perhaps he would be best served to stay away from Mr. Perkins and his home,” said Calcagni.
DePetro’s attorney, Tim Dodd, issued a response to Calcagni’s remarks Thursday night.
“John is an independent journalist and media figure who was exercising his constitutionally protected rights, was not on Perkins’ property and certainly did not instigate the assault upon him by Mr. Perkins,” said Dodd.
Dodd added DePetro will “conform his conduct” to oblige the legal requirement in place.
DePetro has done live broadcasts outside the Staples Avenue home in Warwick on multiple occasion after Warwick police search the home for several weeks in connection with the disappearance of Lester.
Tuesday, DePetro was taken into custody and was charged with trespassing.
Wednesday, DePetro was back in the neighborhood doing a live broadcast when on video a man in a ski mask, later identified as Perkins, is seen shoving a lawnmower towards DePetro before the video cut out.
DePetro has said after the broadcast went off he was punched and kicked several times by Perkins and had his camera equipment stolen from him.
Perkins was arraigned Thursday morning on charges of felony assault, larceny, vandalism and disorderly conduct.
Perkins has been released after posting bond.