In today's edition of "Court Rulings We Totally Agree With The Spirit Of," a judge found veteran CBS reporter Jay Levine not guilty of misdemeanor assault for threatening to "deck" conservative gadfly William Kelly.
Levine and ABC reporter Charles Thomas were interviewing mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel at the Columbus Day parade on October 13, when Kelly pushed past the two reporters. He stuck a microphone in Emanuel's face, with pointed questions like "Does Rahm Emanuel have to play by the same rules as everyone else?" and "Was the stimulus a failure?"
After a number of such interruptions, Levine turns to Kelly and says, "Let him finish or I'm gonna deck ya!"
Kelly filed a complaint against Levine for threatening him, and the two men had their day in court today. The Sun-Times reports on the courtroom scene:
During a short hearing in the Cook County court at Belmont and Western, Judge Geary Kull noted that Levine didn't raise a fist in the incident, which was recorded and is available on YouTube.
Though Levine said he was going to "deck" Kelly, Kelly's behavior was "not indicative of an individual who reasonably feared Mr. Levine would strike him," the judge said.
Kelly buys airtime on WIND radio for his right-wing talk show, "Kelly Truth Squad." Though he repeats throughout the interview that he's a reporter with WIND, the station itself said that it was wrong for him to do so since he buys time and is not an employee.
And his tactics are designed precisely to provoke reactions like Levine's from news media and political figures. Lest you think this was a one-time thing:
The Capitol Fax Blog shared Kelly's response on his Facebook page this morning:
Disregarding a textbook case of assault, a Chicago judge granted Levine a "not guilty" verdict. I was hoping for justice today...but justice was not to be found. The fight continues!