Charged with Criminal Trespass Despite Protest of CNN Staff and Official Event Press Credentials at GOP Debate in New Hampshire
Aaron Dykes & Alex Jones / Jones Report June 5, 2007
Manchester, NH - Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek, reporting for Infowars.com, was arrested for asking a question to one of Giuliani's staff members in a press conference. The press secretary identified the New York based reporter as having previously asked Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building collapses and ordered New Hampshire state police to arrest him.Jason Bermas, reporting for Infowars and America: Freedom to Fascism, confirmed Lepacek had official CNN press credentials for the Republican debate. However, his camera was seized by staff members who shut off the camera, according to Luke Rudkowski, also a freelance Infowars reporter on the scene. He said police physically assaulted both reporters after Rudkowski objected that they were official members of the press and that nothing illegal had taken place. Police reportedly damaged the Infowars-owned camera in the process. Reporters were questioning Giuliani staff members on a variety of issues, including his apparent ignorance of the 9/11 Commission Report, according to Bermas. The staff members accused the reporters of Ron Paul partisanship, which press denied. It was at this point that Lepacek, who was streaming a live report, asked a staff member about Giuliani's statement to Peter Jennings that he was told beforehand that the WTC buildings would collapse.
Giuliani's press secretary then called over New Hampshire state police, fingering Lepacek.
Though CNN staff members tried to persuade police not to arrest the accredited reporter-- in violation of the First Amendment, Lepacek was taken to jail. The police station told JonesReport.com that Lepacek is being charged with felony criminal trespass.
Lepacek did receive one phone call in jail which he used to contact reporter Luke Rudkowski. According to Rudkowski, Lepacek was scared because he had been told he may be transferred to a secret detention facility because state police were also considering charges of espionage against him-- due to a webcam Lepacek was using to broadcast live at the event. State police considered it to be a hidden camera, which led to discussion of "espionage."
Wearing a webcam at a press event is not an act of espionage. Alex Jones, who was watching the live feed, witnessed Lepacek announce that he was wearing a camera connected to a laptop that was transmitting the press conference live at approximately 9:20 EST. When Lepacek announced that he was broadcasting live, Giuliani staff members responded by getting upset at his questions and ordering his arrest.
Freedom to Fascism reporter Samuel Ettaro was also dragged out after asking a question on Giuliani's ties with Cintra and Macquerie, two foreign contractors involved with the contentious Trans-Texas Corridor under development in Texas.
The entire incident took place in a large press auditorium, apart from the debate stages where authorized media were able to question candidates and their handlers.
Since when do campaign operatives have the power to order state police to arrest someone on false charges or arbitrate who has the right to conduct journalism, a right guarded by the Constitution?
A warning to the press-- if candidates or police don't like your questions, you could be arrested for trespassing and even espionage in the new Orwellian America.
The state police in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where the arrest was made, confirmed that Lepacek is in custody on charges of criminal trespass. Police said information on who filed the trespass complaint was not yet available and would be filed in the police report.
It is clear from talking to multiple eyewitness, as well as the live webcam, that there could not have been a complainant who originated police action, because it happened spontaneously. The police need to be very careful about violating the Bill of Rights and falsely charging someone with a felony crime. This constitutes extreme official oppression and is a total violation of the reporter's civil rights. It would have been bad enough if the reporter would have just been thrown out, but to arrest him when he had a valid press pass and CNN protested his arrest is an outrage.
The arrest-- which clearly violated the First Amendment-- was recorded from two separate camera angles, including a live feed recorded remotely-- so the episode is on record in the event that police destroy or lose tapes seized from Lepacek in attempt to obfuscate the facts of the incident.
If you doubt that police would assault reporters, seize video equipment and act on political orders, then consider the experience Alex Jones had when Texas state troopers arrested him for asking George W. Bush a question during a press conference while he was governor. See video below.
Reporters Matt Lepacek and Luke Rudkowski, both members of WeAreChange.org , as well as freelance reporters for Infowars.com, have also been previously accused-- falsely-- of being terrorists with bombs and have undergone multiple episodes of harassment during peaceful demonstrations and attempts at exercising the right of free press .
UPDATE : Comments on both the PrisonPlanet.tv message board and Digg! report that indeed live audio continued to feed from inside the police vehicle after video was shut off by police. The live feed captured the incident and arrest, but previous reports could not confirm that the live report continued after police confiscated the camera.
From DIGG! : lemut: I was listening to their live stream when the arrest happened. The camera feed was lost but audio was still going for several minutes on the way to the police station. This is NOT America.
From PrisonPlanet.tv : Brian Roberts: One of the Wearechange.org guys just got arrested!!!!!!!!! Oh my god! You can hear you audio from the police car!!!
Luke Rudkowski and Jason Bermas contributed to this report.