February 26, 2024

Crime

A superior courtroom choose launched Aidan Kearney on private recognizance and declined to impose any new situations of his launch.

Aidan Kearney leaves Norfolk Superior Courtroom after his arraignment. He’s also called Turtleboy, a controversial blogger who wrote concerning the Karen Learn case that includes the demise of a Boston Police officer. John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Employees

Turtleboy blogger Aidan Kearney pleaded not responsible to 16 legal fees Friday as prosecutors accused him of encouraging his “minions” to harass witnesses within the Karen Learn homicide case.

The Holden resident was finally launched on private recognizance — with none of the situations of launch that beforehand barred him from contacting or coming close to a number of witnesses within the case in opposition to Learn. 

Kearney’s arraignment in Norfolk Superior Courtroom adopted his indictment earlier this week on fees of witness intimidation, picketing witnesses, and conspiracy to intimidate witnesses. He was beforehand arrested and charged in Stoughton District Courtroom in October in connection to his prolific — and controversial — protection of Learn’s case.

The Mansfield girl is accused of backing into her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O’Keefe, together with her SUV and leaving him to die in a blizzard in January 2022.

Prosecutors allege that Learn killed O’Keefe whereas dropping him off at a fellow Boston officer’s dwelling in Canton following an evening of consuming, however Learn’s attorneys argue that she’s being framed and that different friends on the dwelling had been guilty. Kearney has adopted the protection group’s coverup claims, selling the speculation in a whole lot of blogs, movies, and social media posts. 

Though a district courtroom choose beforehand ordered Kearney to keep away from and don’t have any contact with a number of witnesses within the Learn case, particular prosecutor Ken Mello alleged Friday that the 41-year-old violated his launch situations by suggesting that his followers harass these witnesses.

“It’s clear that Mr. Kearney is encouraging his minions, his followers, within the context of his blogs and YouTube, et cetera to proceed to harass witnesses,” Mello informed the courtroom. 

The Fall River lawyer, who was appointed by Norfolk District Lawyer Michael Morrissey, requested Decide Peter B. Krupp to bar Kearney from encouraging his followers to “proceed this sample of intimidation.”

Objecting to the request, Tim Bradl, Kearney’s lawyer, informed the courtroom, “Mr. Kearney has a First Modification proper to encourage folks to train their First Modification rights.”

Bradl added: “He can share his views together with his readers or his viewers and so they can do what they need. He’s allowed to encourage them to talk out in opposition to what he sees as corruption, what he sees as mismanagement of the Learn case, et cetera.” 

Talking from the bench, Krupp defined that whereas state regulation permits district courtroom judges to subject situations to defendants launched on private recognizance, superior courtroom judges can not accomplish that over the defendant’s objection. 

Krupp largely upheld the district courtroom launch situations in a choice final month, although he amended the stay-away orders and allowed Kearney to attend Learn’s courtroom proceedings even when it introduced him close to the named witnesses. 

Reflecting on these situations Friday, the choose informed Mello, “I feel it’s an applicable situation to be imposed, on this case within the Superior Courtroom, however I don’t know if I’ve the ability to do it underneath the statutes and I’m searching for some authority that you just might need indicating that I’ve the ability to do it.” 

Krupp finally launched Kearney on private recognizance with out granting Mello’s requested situations.

“He is aware of that if he commits a criminal offense, he’ll be again in entrance of the courtroom in fast order,” the choose stated. “You’ll be sure that of that, Mr. Mello, I’m certain.”

A jubilant Aidan Kearney, also called Turtleboy, is surrounded by supporters outdoors Norfolk Nation Superior Courtroom. – John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Employees

Mello beforehand accused Kearney of going to nice lengths to harass witnesses in Learn’s case, alleging that the blogger held rallies outdoors witnesses’ houses, “made scenes” at their youngsters’s sporting occasions, confronted them at their locations of labor, and conspired with an Avon police dispatcher to test the registration on automobiles parked outdoors the house of a Massachusetts State Police trooper who investigated O’Keefe’s demise. 

Kearney declared Friday’s end result a “enormous victory” in a publish on the social media platform X, asserting that his earlier launch situations saved him from investigating Learn’s case “within the efficient method I’ve been doing it.”

In a telephone interview after the arraignment, Bradl likewise celebrated Krupp’s resolution to not impose new situations of launch.

“We welcome it,” he stated of the result, calling the prosecution’s case “an absolute perversion of journalistic requirements.”

Bradl added: “It’s an absolute victory for the First Modification and Aidan Kearney that the courtroom refused to rein him in in any form or kind.”

Kearney is due again in courtroom on Feb. 16.