After eight months of legal maneuvering, court dates, postponement, news stories and posts like this one the bell has finally been rung in this particular battle between Supervisor Scott Wiener and controversial blogger/journalist and activist, Michael Petrelis stemming from a pix snapped of the Sup. by Petrelis inside a second floor, City Hall, bathroom in October of 2012.
For those joining the fracas late here is a quick re-cap: Petrelis and Wiener are political fire and ice. Petrelis had been particularly confronting around a myriad of issues that Wiener held sway over for several months leading up to this run in. After one particularly sharp-tongued battle Mr. Petrelis followed Supervisor Wiener into a 2nd floor bathroom at City Hall and snapped a picture of the Dist. 8 rep brushing his teeth.”
Petrelis posted the pix along with an accompanying post on his blog, Petrelis Files. Weeks after, in November of 2012, word came down that the Supervisor was encouraging the DA’s office to investigate and if warranted press charges over the matter.
Indeed, charges were subsequently filed, Petrelis posted 25K in bail and since the first big court date in December there’s been a see-saw of back and forth as this issue wound its way between the court system and Mr. Petrelis’ lawyer, Dereck St. Pierre, negotiating with the City’s DA trying to find some agreeable level of legal compromise that’d satisfy all involved.*
Business concluded today when Judge Sam K. Feng accepted a plea agreement of no contest from Mr. Petrelis for violating misdemeanor charge 647(j) of the California penal code-voyeuristic photo taking without consent. The brokered agreement also include the terms of the three-year stay away order from Mr. Wiener.
Mr. Petrelis can return to City Hall to cover events that take place on the 4th floor where he can once again monitor, participate and write about all that occurs, but, he is barred from the 2nd floor-and the inviting photo ops provided by the bathrooms contained there*.
Mr. Petrelis however remained unrepentant and defiant even after pleading no contest. He read a statement to the court, reprinted in its entirety on his blog, that said in essence he was in court as a result of, “.. the misuse of power by the elected official.”
Estimated court case cost to the taxpayer? $26,000. Three years of personal space from Mr. Petrelis for Sup. Wiener? I would guess he finds that priceless. I venture to think a structured and supervised conflict resolution between the two parties might have cost a lot less cheddar and a great deal less stress for all involved. Regardless this battle is done. Perhaps they can try the conflict resolution avenue after the next one I’m sure is already brewing.
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*UPDATE: I received an email from Mr. Petrelis asking for corrections to some of the statements I made in this post. Below are the particular instances and his written clarifications he asked to be amended. Sincerest apologies.
Only a single charge, not two or more, was filed against me. Yes, bail was set at an outrageously high $25,000 but because of legal advocacy by my attorney I didn’t pay any bail. Also, my attorney’s first name is spelled Derek.