Detectives employed by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office withheld reports from a criminal proceeding showcasing over 3,000 racist memos.
Detectives employed by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office withheld reports from a criminal proceeding showcasing over 3,000 emails sent or received by county officials with the keyword ‘nigger,’ Your Content has learned.
Delaware County Director of Information Technology, John Becht, testified at Nik the Hat’s trial alleging he provided a report to investigating detectives—a report which was withheld from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and defense.
“Did e-discovery generate a report saying no results?” asked Hatziefstathiou’s Delaware County-based co-counsel, Joseph Lesniak. “Yes.” Becht said.
Becht said he provided a report to former Delaware County IT Director Jerry O’Connor.
“Not a written report,” Becht explained. “I gave him the electronic file, the PST file that had no results and it was just an empty file.
After officials claimed to have searched county servers for the alleged racist e-mail for nearly three years it was learned the report was hidden from the public as it contained thousands of apparent emails with alarming language.
“Judge we haven’t gotten any reports,” attorney Lesniak told the judge.
“So we’ll take—a break, we’ll dismiss the jury for an hour, you can go get the reports, you can evaluate them and then see what you want to do at that point in time,” Judge John P. Capuzzi declared. “If the reports exist.”
“Just, judge,” Lesniak continued. “Judge, with all due respect, it’s been two years.”
“Mr. Lesniak, you’ve just heard what I said. You can look at them and then we can—you can see what’s there and then you can raise objections.” Judge Capuzzi said.
“So I double-checked all the exports we did, so when we did a search for the word ‘urgent,’ we only did the year 2015 because that’s when we told the email in question was from. And that returned 7,764 emails.” Becht testified after returning to the stand. “We also did an explorative search for all mailboxes from all years, which would be from 2011 to the current time we did the search for the N word. That returned 3,152 emails.
“We did a search for the word ‘gang bang’ for 2015, which returned zero results. When we expanded that search for all years, it returned 203 emails.”
Hatziefstathiou was convicted in connection to the Your Content publication on October 24, 2021, becoming the first journalist charged and convicted in America while acting under the scope of his employment as an ‘international news correspondent.’ Everything Hatziefstathiou did, Pattis said, was legitimate, as was the probation department email he published. The entire prosecution, he said, was an attempt by Delaware County to get revenge on a reporter who “asks inconvenient questions to people in power.”
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.
“Information comes to reporters from sources who do not want to be disclosed, and reporters protect the identity of those sources, and seek to confirm or corroborate what those sources have told them,” Pattis said. “That is what Nik Hatziefstathiou did in this case.” It was learned over 3,000 emails containing the ‘n’ word exist on county servers in addition to 200+ with the keyword ‘gangbang,’ a revelation learned two years after authorities vehemently denied the existence of a single email ‘containing such language.’
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.
‘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.
After Hatziefstathiou disputed that police were investigating the area where the drugs were purchased and questioned the cost of his prosecution, he was acquitted of all charges following a Aug. 2016 bench trial.
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.