STOUGHTON, Mass. (AP) — A confrontational blogger known as “Turtleboy” was charged Wednesday with witness intimidation and conspiracy related to a criminal case against a woman accused of running over and killing her boyfriend, a Boston police officer, with her vehicle.
Aidan Timothy Kearney wore a hoody emblazoned with the message “Free Karen Read” when he was led handcuffed into a courthouse to be arraigned on multiple counts of intimidation of a witness, juror or law enforcement official, and a single count of conspiracy.
Kearney, who pleaded not guilty, was released on personal recognizance — with a requirement that he not have contact with people tied to Read’s murder case.
Saying his client “vehemently denies” the accusations, Kearney’s lawyer told the judge Wednesday that Kearney’s opinions were protected by the First Amendment.
The charges in Stoughton District Court stemmed from Kearney’s advocacy on behalf of Read, who’s accused of running over her boyfriend, John O’Keefe, and leaving him unconscious on the lawn of a home in Canton, southwest of Boston, in January 2022. Read is charged with second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter while impaired and leaving the scene of an accident.
The case has spun off conspiracy theories on social media and Read’s attorney alleged there was a coverup involving local and state police.
On Wednesday, Fall River attorney Kenneth Mello, the special prosecutor appointed to look into Kearney’s actions, read aloud messages Kearney allegedly sent to witnesses and investigators, saying they were aimed at harassing, threatening and intimidating. He also said Kearney received material from a police dispatcher who illegally accessed a motor vehicle database.
In August, District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey took the unusual step of releasing a video statement in which he condemned “absolutely baseless” harassment and vilification of witnesses in the matter. “Innuendo is not evidence,” he said.