Aidan Kearney, the blogger behind “Turtleboy Daily News,” was arrested Wednesday morning on several counts of witness intimidation and one count of conspiracy related to his coverage of the murder case against Karen Read.
In recent months Kearney has covered the Read case extensively on his online blog, and has often attended Read’s pretrial hearings.
Read is accused of hitting Boston police officer John O’Keefe with her car outside of a home in Canton, Massachusetts, while under the influence of alcohol in January 2022, and is scheduled to go to trial on March 12, 2024.
The Read case has received widespread attention and scrutiny due to Kearney’s and Read’s defense team’s suggestions of a coverup.
In a video from NBC10 Boston reporter Eli Rosenberg, Kearney can be seen being led in handcuffs into the Stoughton District Court while wearing a “Free Karen Read” sweatshirt.
Kearney’s prosecution is being handled by special prosecutor Kenneth Mello.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, whose office is in charge of prosecuting Read, made the unusual move of releasing a video statement in August condemning the “absolutely baseless” harassment of witnesses.
In Wednesday’s arraignment hearing, Kearney’s lawyer argued that Kearney is a journalist with First Amendment rights, and that his blog and YouTube channel are his opinions, not threats, per NBC Boston.
Prosecutors in the case read from transcripts of Kearney’s videos and articles related to his “Canton Coverup” investigation.
Following the hearing, Kearney was released from custody on personal recognizance, with the judge ordering him not to contact anyone he is accused of intimidating by the charges filed against him Wednesday.
He is due back in court on Dec. 5.