Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge John P. Capuzzi went to bar for his colleague and pal, Judge Jack Whelan, in effort to block his involvement in a “fake news” trial that was held in a closed courtroom in mid-October, Your Content is first to report.
Hatziefstathiou, represented by defense attorneys Norm Pattis, Mark Much and Joseph Lesniak, has denied the charges and representatives for Your Content have stood by the story, which remained posted on the site until its removal on October 25, 2021.
“Additionally, we’ve got some concerns because our—although the trial docket is a public record and the trial list is—or the trial docket is updated daily, our witness list has yet to appear on it. The State’s—the Motion to Quash has yet to appear. This, together with the Court’s reluctance to place Mr. Whalen’s name on the witness list, as evidence by an unusual request for a proffer prior to the proceedings and our having to—“
Nik Tzimas Hatziefstathiou, otherwise known as ‘Nik the Hat,’ who was succeeded as Editor-in-Chief by the publication’s deputy editor, will remain CEO of Original Media Group Corporation for an undetermined period when the transition occurred in mid-September.
“Well,” Judge Capuzzi said. “The proffer was not made 14 by this Court. The proffer was done through the 15 Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.”
“No,” Pattis responded. “You’re misunderstanding me, and if I misspoke, I apologize. I believe that we were asked to give a proffer of our witnesses and we respectfully requested that we not be permitted—or required to do so and the Court did not. The Supreme Court of the State, Counsel for the Supreme Court, has filed a Motion to Quash, and there’ll be a separate hearing tomorrow, but I note that, from our perspective, the Court seemed reluctant to even mention Mr. Whelan’s name when we announced the witness list.
“It appears to us that the concerns that Commonwealth v. Hayes raised; that is that a trial be closed to the public in derogation of a person’s public trial rights, yielding what could resemble a star chamber proceeding, we’re not in star chamber territory, but we feel that the public’s right of access to the Court and to information about these proceedings has been impeded in ways that we believe are unheralding and so we would ask for an evidentiary hearing. I’d like to put Mr. Boggs on the stand. And I would like to find out by what authority a Park Police Officer stood in a hallway of this Court and told a member of the public he could not enter this courtroom — the hallway or this courtroom. That, to my mind, is shocking and so I’m asking simply for a brief hearing that could take place during deliberations.” Pattis concluded.
“I will consider it overnight.” Judge Capuzzi said. “But I did mention Mr. Whalen’s name on the record, put it up at your request so the jury — when we went through the voir dire, his name was on there, as everybody else’s name.”
Pattis fired back: “Well, it wasn’t. I believe you told us at side bar, and the record will speak for itself, that you weren’t going to mention his name and we insisted and the Court did so. And I took that to be a reluctance that amounted to an unusual solicitude for what we regard as a fact witness, and I don’t say that to be confrontational too.”
Hatziefstathiou tapped Bruce Castor, the attorney who led for the defense of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, to join Norm Pattis as co-counsel for his appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts.
Judge Capuzzi acknowledged refusing to name the sitting judge citing it ‘raised concern.’
“When you request a sitting Judge’s testimony, that raises a question. So — but I acquiesced. And took it upon myself.”
Hatziefstathiou was held without bail following Judge Capuzzi’s sentence on November 24. His attorneys, Bruce Castor and Norm Pattis, will petition the Pennsylvania Superior Court for Hatziefstathiou to be released on bail pending his state court appeal.
‘Fake News’ Arrest
On May 25, 2019, Your Content reported about an email it said it had obtained from an unidentified source. The email, allegedly sent by a supervisor with the county’s Adult Probation and Parole department, included racist language about African Americans, according to the story.
As a result of the explosive investigative report, authorities arrested Hatziefstathiou in July 2019 after executing a search warrant for his news gathering material on Jun. 24, 2019.
Hatziefstathiou, represented by defense attorneys Norm Pattis, Mark Much and Joseph Lesniak, has denied the charges and representatives for Your Content have stood by the story, which remains posted on Your Content. Attorney A. Charles Peruto, Jr. represented Hatziefstathiou for his preliminary proceedings regarding the ‘fake news’ trial and in prior contemptuous battles with local officials.
On Nov. 8, 2019, John Reilly, Jr., superintendent of George W. Hill Correctional Facility, was accused of misconduct by current and former employees, validating Your Content’s 2019 investigative report of systemic racism. At the time Hatziefstathiou was arrested, the county oversight board prevented the complaints of racism and abuse or power from becoming public, but Reilly faced new scrutiny from Delaware County’s incoming Democratic county council.
The Delaware County prison chief retired after the Inquirer investigation into allegations of racism on Nov 27.
Hatziefstathiou is scheduled for trial October 18.
Nik & Politics
According to 2016 public disclosures, Hatziefstathiou provided “political strategy services” to Donald J. Trump during the 2016 election. It is believed Hatziefstathiou’s methodologies and unique approaches flipped Pennsylvania, a Democratic-stronghold and swing state, in Trump’s favor.
However, Hatziefstathiou did not provide consultation services to any political candidates in the 2020 presidential election.
Following the heated election, Hatziefstathiou and his administration transformed a millennial operated political publication, Young Constituents, to a news organization targeting a unique national audience.
Your Content describes itself as a priority destination for affluent readers who love play-by-play content through the lens of those directly involved.
The vaunted brand is a trusted source that sparks conversations about pop culture with up-to-the-minute headlines and direct-from-the-source intel that speaks to our audience’s passion points.
The brand’s currency and authority firmly positions Your Content as a leading voice in pop culture, scandals, entertainment and celebrity.
Additionally, there were changes in various organizations owned or operated by Hatziefstathiou—including news programs with the standardization of Your Content-like graphics, redesigned studios and office spaces, news-format changes, and the announcement of a new division called Midnight Society to be developed by Original Media Group Corporation.
According to the publication’s masthead, “Midnight Society is a division of investigative reporters at Your Content. The team uncovers useful information for our readers and locate potential sources of interest by trawling the deep web and harvesting information from typically inaccessible areas of the Internet such as the dark net.”
Hatziefstathiou assisted both Democrats and Republicans in Pennsylvania campaigns since 2014, including but not limited to Judge Anthony D. Scanlon (R), Judge Leon Hunter (R), Judge Christopher Mattox (D/R), Judge Harry Karapalides (R), Judge Paul Bizarro (R), and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D). Despite Hatziefstathiou’s public image as a staunch Republican, he is a registered Democrat who asserts: “When it comes to politics, we are hated by both sides. Republicans arrest us for documenting their actions & Democrats sue us. So, we really have no reason to be in favor of one party over the other. We support candidates for morals, not parties. It’s 2020.”
Hatziefstathiou advised over a dozen political consultation firms and their representatives leading to successful political bids for the likes of Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-PA), President Donald J. Trump (R-NY), Attorney General Kathleen Kane (R-PA), Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan (R-PA), Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer (D-PA), and assisted former President Barack Obama (D-PA) with post-presidency millennial outreach.
Leroy Evans Controversy
Some people in the political left and right criticized Hatziefstathiou for his consulting work and criminal justice reform advocacy.
“Mr. Stollsteimer and his campaign must release his emails and texts with ‘Nik the Hat,’” Delaware County Republican Party Chair Tom McGarrigle said at a Jul. 20, 2019, press conference. “Voters deserve to know if he ever tried to get the facts, like a true prosecutor would have.”
Then-Delaware County Councilman county council Chairman John McBlain, a Republican, characterized the timing of the story, subsequent calls from Harrisburg regarding the email and the press conference 11 days later as “obvious coordination, political coordination,” the Daily Times previously reported.
“Nikolaos Hatziefstathiou is a registered Republican who has made a name for himself by attacking Democrats,” wrote Trevor Maloney, campaign manager for Stollsteimer and other countywide Democratic candidates, in an emailed response. “But now that he has been charged with crimes, the Republicans want us to believe that the Democrats are behind this? It’s ironic that supposed leaders in the Delaware County Republican Party are engaging in the same shameful tactics they are indignantly condemning.”
Martin Luther King Jr. once said; “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” Thank you @FINALLEVEL for joining the fight – @DaKATCopeland – stop ignoring the voice of those you took an oath to protect & serve, test the DNA! #JusticeForLeroy https://t.co/96NeDt3FjM— nik t. hatziefstathiou (@nikthehat) May 9, 2019
Hatziefstathiou rallied celebrities to appear at multiple political functions to expose illegal tactics and shed light on a suburban Philadelphia county in dire need of an independent investigation.
David Sheppard should have been reunited with his family, but he remains in custody and must appear in court on Monday in Delaware County— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 6, 2019
The slew of celebrities who joined Hatziefstathiou in his political endeavors included but were not limited to Taylor Swift (2018), Anne Hathaway (2016), Katy Perry (2016), Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen (2016), Billy Baldwin (2019), Hailey Baldwin Bieber (2019), Tony Goldwyn (2016), Kim Kardashian (2019 + 2020), Ice-T (2019), Snoop Dogg (2019), Lady Gaga (2016), Selena Gomez (2015), Toby Keith (2016), Kenny Chesney (2016), Good Charlotte (2019), Dog the Bounty Hunter (2019), Cee Lo Green (2015), and Demi Lovato (2021).
In 2016 Kenny Chesney told thousands of fans at Lincoln Financial Field, where he was performing, that Folcroft Borough Police Officer Christopher Dorman, who was shot seven times in the line of duty, had died.
Dorman, 25, a huge fan of Chesney, had planned to attend the concert, but instead found himself in a local hospital recovering, ABC World News previously reported.
Hatziefstathiou, a Delaware County native, reached out to his friend who happened to be the country mega-star’s manager to arrange a face-to-face conversation with Folcroft Officer Dorman.
The Folcroft PD sent Action News video of Officer Dorman speaking to Chesney on the phone.
“It was a great conversation, just in typical Chris fashion took it in stride, was laughing about things. They made some arrangements with each other,” Folcroft Police Sgt. William Bair told Action News in 2016.
Chesney confirmed the phone call on his Twitter account.
“@FolcroftPD He’s doing great. Told him we’d watch an Eagles game & have beers one day. Here’s to a speedy recovery!” Chesney said.