Charges dropped against N.Y. reporters covering Pataki fundraiser
NEW YORK–Trespassing charges filed against two reporters arrested in April at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel while covering a fundraising dinner for Gov. George Pataki were dismissed in early June.
Judge Robert Sackett of the New York City Criminal Court said that the charges against Andrea Bernstein of the New York Observer and Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett were “legally insufficient.”
In late April, Bernstein and Barrett tried to cover a large fundraiser for the governor. The two reporters first attended a reception before the dinner and were told that it was not open to the press. Bernstein said that she and Barrett waited outside the reception, watching people enter and exit.
During the dinner, the two reporters planned to wait in the lobby of the 18th floor outside of the dining room, Bernstein said. Instead, they were told they could not wait there, and the police were called. The state Republican party, which organized the fundraiser, said it was not involved in the incident and did not summon the police.
Bernstein and Barrett refused to leave when the police arrived and they were arrested and brought to the basement of the hotel. The officer issued them court appearance tickets and released them.