By A.J. ALGIER
Sun Staff Writer
WAKEFIELD — The Maine man charged with handing a personal note meant for mega-star Taylor Swift to one of the security guards protecting her Watch Hill property has been given more time to work on a possible compromise, or outright dismissal of the charge against him, according to his attorney, Michael J. Robinson of Wakefield.
Joseph L. Bernatche, 55, of Portland, Maine, was arrested on July 27, charged with misdemeanor willful trespass after he tried to “get in touch” with the 23-year-old singer. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in 4th Division District Court before Judge Madeline Quirk earlier this month.
Westerly police say Bernatche handed a security guard standing outside Swift’s 16 Bluff Ave. property a note that read, “Taylor if you ever want to see me in person again, I suggest you call me now, Joe.” The note was followed by the man’s cellphone number.
Robinson said his client denies the trespassing claim, saying he was never on Swift’s property, not even when he handed the guard the note.
In April, Bernatche was warned by Westerly police to leave the area of Swift’s home. Robinson said because he was “flagged” by the department at that time, the security guard was familiar with his vehicle.
Robinson said it is undisputed that Bernatche went up to the property, but he said he was on his way out of the area when he was stopped by a Westerly officer.
Robinson said he doesn’t know if Bernatche ever met Swift in person, but believes she may at one time have been in the Portland area. Robinson said he didn’t believe his client had ever been to a Taylor Swift concert
“He’s pretty frightened by the whole thing,” Robinson said.
“But the whole thing won’t amount to much,” he said. He said there is clearly no proof Bernatche was on private property.
Bernatche, a soft spoken, well-dressed man, let his attorney speak in court. Once outside the courtroom, he shook hands with the reporter and said how pleased he was to speak with her but was quickly escorted out of the court by Robinson, who later returned to speak with reporters.
Bernatche is due back in court on Sept. 6.