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Trial resumes for teachers’ union employee accused of cyber stalking

August 9, 2011

Former State Representative Douglas Gablinske is scheduled to take the stand for a second time this afternoon in the trial of a John Leidecker, a teacher’s union employee the Bristol Democrat accuses of cyber harassment.

The case stems from emails Leidecker wrote that appeared to come from Gablinske, who was seeking re-election at the time. Leidecker, an assistant excutive director at the National Education Association of Rhode Island, has not denied writing the emails but says they were intended as political caricature. His defense attorney argues that the messages constitute political speech, which is protected by the 1st Amendment.

Gablinske has said the messages caused him to fear for his safety and the safety of his family. Prosecutors have dropped a charge that Leidecker impersonated an elected official, opting instead for a single count of cyber stalking and cyber harassment with a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

The testimony phase of the trial could wrap up as early as Wednesday.

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