A former deputy mayor of Brewer and local photographer has denied lying to police earlier this year when he allegedly claimed someone hacked into his social media accounts and made racist statements about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Thomas Morelli’s attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, on July 14 entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf to one count of making a false report.
Silverstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Morelli, 63, was issued a summons July 2. He was scheduled to be arraigned on July 15. The court canceled that hearing.
Silverstein entered the not guilty plea on July 14, according to the clerk’s office at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor. Under the law, attorneys may enter pleas on behalf of clients charged with misdemeanor crimes.
Morelli and his attorney are scheduled to appear before a judge by telephone on Aug. 11. The case could be resolved at that time.
The day he was charged, Morelli resigned from the city council and apologized.
“I am ashamed of my comments and behavior,” Morelli said in his resignation statement. “The public trust of a City Councilor is vital to the citizens, and I breached that with my participation in Facebook trolling. What has occurred is not worthy of a public official.”
Police have not disclosed the nature of the comments Morelli posted but have said they were related to the killing of Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in late May, sparking demonstrations against police brutality nationwide. Brewer Mayor Jerry Goss described them as “derogatory and inflammatory.”
Morelli was elected to a three-year term on the council in November 2018. He is a 1975 Brewer High School graduate and a professional photographer. He also co-hosted a morning call-in show on local talk radio station WVOM during the devastating ice storm of January 1998.
If convicted of the Class D misdemeanor, Morelli faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.