Worcester County District Attorney Suffolk County District Attorney November press conference fee
WORCESTER – A man who faced charges by the Worcester District Attorney’s Office after an argument with the former Suffolk District Attorney at a press conference last year filed a complaint Wednesday against Worcester DA Joseph D. Early Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Anthony Melia, among others, alleging malicious prosecution and a violation of free speech.
In the lawsuit Joao DePina of Dorchester filed in Worcester Superior Court, he cited emotional distress stemming from a November lawsuit filed against him by U.S. District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who was in court. then the Suffolk prosecutor.
The charges against DePina, which have since been dismissed, stemmed from a verbal altercation at a Nov. 9, 2021, press conference in which Rollins was giving a televised update on a standoff in Dorchester in which a person was killed after a shooting that injured three police officers.
During the press conference, DePina heckled Rollins, calling him out on “continued gun violence in Boston” and “government incompetence”, also citing his brother’s murder.
In an email, DePina’s legal team alleged that Rollins made fun of him and continued the press conference.
Three days after the event, Rollins filed barrister intimidation charges against DePina, who at the time had three active criminal cases against him by the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, which Rollins oversaw as prosecutor. district.
In the complaint filed Wednesday, DePina says the case was taken over by the Worcester district attorney’s office, after the Norfolk District Attorney and other district attorneys declined to take it on.
The complaint alleges that the case was not dismissed
The complaint alleges that Melia did not dismiss the case, even after DePina requested a termination on the basis of free speech.
Additionally, DePina accuses Early and Melia of taking the case “either to shut DePina up or try to curry favor with Rollins.”
A spokesperson for the Worcester district attorney’s office said the office would not comment on ongoing litigation.
The case against DePina was dismissed in May for lack of probable cause after a judge determined that DePina’s speech was “within the scope of First Amendment protection.”
In his lawsuit, DePina seeks compensation for his legal fees and the emotional distress he says was caused by the process.
He sought punitive damages against the Worcester District Attorney’s Office, Early, Melia, the Boston Police Department, the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, Detective Dante Williams and Rollins.
Williams and the Boston Police Department are accused of negligently inflicting emotional distress.
A spokesperson for Rollins declined to comment on the matter.