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Judge rules yelling "Baba Booey" and "Howard Stern's penis" behind newscaster is not a crime
A New York County judge dismissed a charge against Joseph "Joey Boots" Bassolino, which alleged he violated New York's Penal Code, during a trial that occurred on June 30, 2014.
After his performance, four (4) police officers questioned, and then detained, Mr. Bassolino. He was issued an appearance ticket to respond to the charge after he was detained.
At his first court appearance, on May 28, 2014, Mr. Bassolino was offered an agreement by the State of New York that would dismiss the charge if he was not arrested within the subsequent six (6) months. Mr. Bassolino refused to accept the offer. After refusing the offer, a trial was scheduled for June 30, 2014.
At the trial, the arresting officer testified that he issued the summons to Mr. Bassolino because he ran and "abruptly jumped” behind a newscaster that was broadcasting in public and yelled “Baba Booey” and “Howard Stern’s penis.” While being questioned, the officer added additional information to his previously issued sworn statement, specifically that (1) Mr. Bassolino “abruptly jumped” behind the newscaster; (2) he yelled “Howard Stern’s penis”; and (3) a complaint about Mr. Bassolino’s conduct was received by a separate employee of a competing television network.
When asked by the presiding judge if he knew the meaning of “Baba Booey” the officer responded that he unware of the meaning of the phrase. The representation, which was made under oath, caused the judge to react in a manner which appeared to be in disbelief.
The State’s only witness was the arresting officer. After his testimony was completed, the judge thanked him for his service to New York City but informed him that even if Mr. Bassolino’s actions occurred as he testified, it did not constitute a violation of the Penal law for which he was charged. The judge subsequently dismissed the charge against Mr. Bassolino.
Mr. Bassolino's work has been imitated or used on various television networks and programs including Family Guy, Fox, CNN and the Howard Stern Show.
Mr. Bassolino was represented by Marsha Mozammel, Steven Fingerhut and Vincent Imbesi, of the law firm Imbesi Christensen.
Media requests should be made to attorney Marsha Mozammel, via e-mail. Ms. Mozammel’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.