Saturday, September 30, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023

Retaliation Vandalism Targets New Hampshire Journalists




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Federal charges have been filed against three men in connection with a series of vandalism incidents that targeted the homes of two New Hampshire journalists, Your Content has learned.

Authorities believe these acts were motivated by retaliation against an article that was published by the journalists.

The suspects, one of whom is still at large, allegedly used bricks and large rocks to damage the properties, while also spray-painting lewd and threatening messages.

The acts occurred multiple times between April and May of the previous year, according to an official statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

The charges brought against the suspects include conspiring to commit stalking through interstate travel.

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If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution.

The vandalism incidents reportedly occurred following the publication of an article in March 2022 by a journalist from New Hampshire Public Radio, which detailed allegations of misconduct involving a former local businessperson.

The businessman himself has not faced any charges, and the article had contributions from another journalist as well.

The vandalism attacks specifically targeted the homes of New Hampshire Public Radio journalist Lauren Chooljian, her parents, and her editor, Dan Barrick, as reported by WBUR public radio in Boston.

Chooljian, Barrick, and New Hampshire Public Radio for additional comments on the matter.

Investigations suggest that the suspects conspired with at least one other person, described as a close associate of the businessperson mentioned in the article, with the aim of retaliating against the news outlet and the two journalists involved.

In one of the incidents, a rock the size of a softball was thrown through a window of Chooljian’s parents’ house in Hampstead around midnight in April.

Additionally, a vulgar word was spray-painted in large red letters on one of the garage doors, according to federal prosecutors.

Another incident involved a brick being thrown through the window of the journalist’s own home in Melrose, Massachusetts, accompanied by the words “JUST THE BEGINNING” spray-painted on the front of the house.

The suspects, identified as Tucker Cockerline, Michael Waselchuck, and Keenan Saniatan, have all been charged with conspiring to commit stalking through interstate travel, as stated by the US Attorney’s Office.

While Cockerline and Waselchuck were apprehended on Friday, Saniatan remains at large. Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy emphasized that these charges send a clear message that the Department of Justice will not tolerate harassment or intimidation of journalists.

Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, affirmed that freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of any healthy democracy, condemning the defendants’ alleged actions.

Cockerline and Waselchuck are scheduled for a hearing on June 20.

Scott Lauer, attorney for Tucker Cockerline, stated that he was unable to provide further comment at this time. We reached out to Waselchuck’s public defender for additional information, according CNN.

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