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Case against Swift ‘trespasser’ dismissed

WAKEFIELD — It would have been too difficult to prove “beyond a doubt” that a 55-year-old Maine man charged with handing a note meant for Taylor Swift to one of her security guards actually happened on her property.

Trespassing charges against Joseph L. Bernatche were dismissed by Judge Melanie Quirk in 4th Division District Court on Friday after prosecutors for the Westerly police agreed it would be difficult to technically prove Bernatche was on the property when he physically passed the note.

Westerly Police Lt. Phil Williams said it was unclear whether the guard was actually at the gate of Swift’s 16 Bluff Ave. property when he accepted the note or if he had walked a short distance onto public property at that point.

The note read, “Taylor if you ever want to see me in person again, I suggest you call me now, Joe.” The note was followed by his cellphone number.

There is no indication that Bernatche had ever met Swift or even had been to one of the 23-year-old’s concerts. Bernatche, however, said he believed he was destined to meet the young woman.

Bernatche’s attorney, Michael J. Robinson of Wakefield, was obviously pleased with the results and not surprised Westerly police decided not to pursue the action any further.

“It was not unexpected,” he said.

“They rightfully concluded there was not enough evidence. The system played itself out.”

He said had the case gone to trial it would have been “a real circus” atmosphere, considering Swift is hounded by paparazzi and fans seeking any and all information about her every move, whether in Los Angeles or at her Watch Hill home.

Bernatche, a soft-spoken balding man, has dressed in suits for his appearances in court and has been polite with the media. He had readily spoken with reporters until hiring a lawyer, who advised him to stop.

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