The Salem man who allegedly took part in the scheme to harass and intimidate New Hampshire Public Radio journalists pleaded guilty in the United States District Court in Boston last week.
Tucker Cockerline, 32, entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and the use of a facility of interstate commerce. He is now scheduled for sentencing in March.
Cockerline is one of four men who allegedly targeted NHPR reporters, including Lauren Chooljian, by vandalizing their homes and the homes of their families in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The cases against his co-defendants, Michael Waselchuck, Keenan Saniatan, and Eric Labarge, are still pending.
According to the charging documents, the vandals struck after after NHPR published Chooljian’s year-long investigation into allegations that former Granite Recovery Centers CEO Eric Spofford engaged in sexual misconduct including sexual assault. Spofford has denied any part in the vandalism. However, Labarge is a close associate of Spofford’s.
Spofford tried to sue NHPR for defamation over the sexual misconduct reporting, but has continually failed to keep the lawsuit alive. This month, Rockingham Superior Court Judge Daniel St. Hilaire ruled there is no evidence anyone at NHPR acted with malice in reporting the story, and that Spofford’s lawsuit is simply not viable.