Former Congressional candidate Donald Hassig is reacting to his recent arrest and denying all charges. Hassig was arrested Wednesday for fourth degree stalking. Barry Wygel has the story.
POTSDAM, N.Y -- "I said it loudly and clearly, because I want to say it loudly and clearly. That's freedom of speech you know. That's the freedom of speech that matters. I said, 'there goes a criminal,'" said Donald Hassig, president of Cancer Action NY and former congressional candidate.
That incident, on October 30, led to Hassig being arrested on trespassing charges. He was talking about Doctor Susan Hathaway, the director of public health in St. Lawrence County. Hassig accused Hathaway of not doing her job and putting the interests of big business ahead of the needs of the people. Hathaway went to police on Wednesday fearing for her safety and the result was Hassig being arrested on stalking charges.
In a written deposition, Hathaway says, "His actions have gone far beyond interacting with me in my professional capacity...He has fixated on me, personally, and I believe I need to be protected from him."
The deposition lays out a pattern of unsolicited contact from Hassig to Hathaway, including a number of phone calls Hassig made to Hathaway's office.
One message from Hassig allegedly said "he was going to drive [Hathaway] out of the county. He was going to drive all the evil politicians out of the county. Viva the Revolution."
Hassig denies all charges.
"Was I stalking her when I said that? I don't think so," said Hassig.
Hassig says he knows he will not be convicted of stalking and plans to retaliate by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit.
"I don't think there is enough justice to win, but boy, the justice of getting to ask those questions and get her answers on the record, that's justice enough for me," said Hassig.
While the legal action is pending, the court did issue a temporary order of protection against Hassig, but he plans to continue to voice his message.