Perennial political candidate Christopher X. Brodeur was sentenced to 6 months in prison yesterday, after being convicted of aggravated harassment. The charge stemmed from a beef CXB had with his landlord. In a recent email, Christopher's girlfriend Jessica Delfino explained what happened:
The aggravated harassment charges come from a landlord/tenant dispute that got out of hand. His landlord, after 15 years of having Christopher as a "difficult" tenant (his words), decided to kick him out. He asked Christopher to leave, he even offered Christopher money (then decided not to offer money after all), and Christopher said he didn't want to leave willingly, and would fight to not have to leave, though at one point, Christopher asked for one year and said he'd leave willingly after that. His landlord used devious means to get him into court, lying and saying Christopher hadn't paid his rent. Christopher was able to prove he had paid his rent, and the case was dismissed. Christopher then found out he could do a rent strike until his landlord made the repairs in the apartment that had been the cause of Christopher's "difficult" tenant status (such as a fence that blocked the roof fire excape, faulty and dangerous electrical wiring, etc.) So, they went back and forth for awhile with that. During this time, Christopher would leave these long, rambling, sometimes aggressive (but never out right threatening) messages on his landlord's work place machine, saying things like, "You are taking my home away from me, so I should be able to burn your house down and make us even...". He thought that his speaking was protected by the first amendment, and I doubt he would have made the calls if he didn't think he was speaking within protected free speech. For example, he never would have called and said, "I'm going to kill you and burn your house down," because that is not considered protected free speech and he knows that.
The Post reports that in his two hour (!) sentencing statement, CXB was remorseful, and asked not to be jailed just for speech. Clearly, his plea for leniency was not accepted by the judge. What's worse, this is only the first of three cases CXB faces this year: the next ones accuse him of harassing the Bloomberg administration's press office, and threatening a reporter at the Observer. Let's hope that after all this, CXB learns to take a hint-- you can't threaten violence, ever, ever ever-- some people just aren't going to take it as a joke.