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September 24, 2007

Roll Call: Weller aide roughs up journalist over CAFTA

We recently reported that Rep. Jerry Weller's (R-Ill.) political career is crumbling in the wake of questions about his conflicts of interest with Nicaraguan investments as he boosted CAFTA in 2005.

Apparently, the CAFTAgate pressure is starting to get to Weller, who recently announced his retirement and is married to the daughter of the former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt. Roll Call is reporting that a Weller staffer pounced on a journalist who was inquiring about CAFTAgate:

Guatemalaweddinginside A staffer for Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) apparently took questions from a reporter a bit too seriously Friday, when he allegedly pushed the scribe down a flight of stairs.

Mike Flannery, the political editor at the CBS affiliate in Chicago, planned to file charges against the staffer, identified by the station as John Dusik.

According to a news report on the station’s Web site, Flannery followed Weller into a stairway at the local chamber of commerce in Joliet, Ill., after the Congressman delivered the speech announcing his retirement. After Flannery asked Weller about the Central American investments that have gotten the Congressman into hot water, Dusik apparently pushed Flannery — first off-camera and then again on-camera, causing a woman nearby to fall.

“There’s a large man, who begins shoving reporters around, including yours truly,” Flannery told the station. “He shoves me one way, then he goes after another reporter with CLTV. ... There’s an opening in the doorway, and I begin moving through that doorway, and he shoves me down the stairs; he shoves me into a railing on the staircase and also into a woman on the staircase who was traveling with Weller.”

Dusik later was arrested, according to the report. Weller, for his part, stayed mum during the incident and drove away without answering questions from reporters.

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