Flashback: North Caldwell man with a mission lands in court on charges of harassmentBy Nic Corbett/For The Star-Ledger
Apr. 04, 2010
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Don Meserlian, an 82-year-old forensic engineer, who is trying to get authorities to listen to his 9/11 conspiracy theory.
NORTH CALDWELL - Fed 7th - An 82-year-old North Caldwell man who for 1 1/2 years has desperately tried to convince local officials to pass along “evidence” of treason on Sept. 11, 2001 to a New Jersey judge got his day in court last week.
But it was not exactly the forum Don Meserlian wanted. He was there on charges of harassing a borough police captain, filed after he relentlessly pestered the local police department to further his cause.
Meserlian was found guilty Thursday in Fairfield municipal court of telling the officer on a recorded phone line last October, at a point when his frustration boiled over, “I will kick your a**” and “I can beat you any time with one hand tied behind my back.”
“I asked him if that was a threat,” testified Capt. Mark Deuer, “He said, ‘No. That was a promise.’”
Judge Frank Pomaco, suspending the usual fine, ordered Meserlian to pay $39 in court costs and advised him to stop bothering local police since they don’t have jurisdiction to investigate the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
“I was trying to run a police department on a daily basis, and the constant phone calls are an annoyance,” said Deuer, who’s officer-in-charge until a new police chief is appointed. “It had no other purpose other than to harass me. Normally, he’s polite, but on this day he was not.”
Meserlian, a forensic engineer who’s lived in North Caldwell for 45 years, has appeared before the borough’s governing body several times since September 2008 demanding they pass a resolution that states there’s evidence there were bombs in the World Trade Center towers that went off seconds before the planes hit.
As an act of civil disobedience, Meserlian said he’s kept his property taxes for the past year in an escrow account until the council complies. Borough administrator Joseph Kunz said he owes more than $14,000.
“I’ll pay as soon as they obey the law,” Meserlian said in an interview. “Just remember, the American Revolution was held for the same thing, to overthrow tyranny. You’re about to witness the next American Revolution. Hopefully, it can be done peacefully.”
Acting as his own attorney at the trial, Meserlian was joined by several members of a movement to have a grand jury investigate 9/11, including a New York City freelance writer, Sander Hicks; a voice-over actor and organizer for a group in Wayne called Prosecute Them Now, Stuart
Hutchison; and a Westchester, N.Y., architect, Jeffrey Orling.
Hicks, who self-publishd a book on a 9/11 cover-up, said he admires Meserlian for coming up with a strategy for airing his cause. According to Meserlian’s interpretation of a federal law, any citizen can present evidence of treason in any jurisdiction. Local officials must then make the information available to a state judge, who will pass it along to the correct jurisdiction where a grand jury can be convened. If officials refuse, Meserlian said, they can face up to seven years in prison and a steep fine.
The judge was lenient in letting Meserlian build his case, allowing Hicks and Hutchison to testify over the objections of Fairfield prosecutor Marcella Wilson. But he asked them to keep their remarks limited to Meserlian’s character.
When Wilson asked what was relevant about bringing 9/11 into a case about harassment, Meserlian interrupted, “9/11 is the whole thing. The municipal court is the only place where you can get a fair hearing.”
Meserlian admitted he can be annoying, but that’s only because he’s trying to get the truth out, he said. The judge said he that respects Meserlian has a mission, but North Caldwell is not the right venue to pursue it.
The next day, Meserlian appeared to be pleased with the trial, in spite of losing. He was triumphant about getting to read his interpretation of the treason law.
“Any other judge would not have allowed me to get the testimony in,” he said.