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Merrimack Valley

September 19, 2013

Mischief, mishaps mark the vote in Lawrence

A slap, a computer glitch, sticker shenanigans and the devil among mayhem

LAWRENCE — Rumbo editor Dalia Diaz could face an assault charge for slapping a defeated candidate for mayor after he accused Diaz of shilling for Mayor William Lantigua in an incident that capped a madcap day of mishaps and mischief as a city with a long history of voting irregularities went to the polls Tuesday.

The candidate, James O’Donoghue, told police after the incident that he would not press charges, but said yesterday he may change his mind because he said the slap damaged his glasses — which were knocked from his face — and left his face stinging.

“I am considering (pressing charges) because the lens on my eye glasses has a large chip and my frames got very screwed up,” O’Donoghue said. “I did have some incidents of stinging during the night where she scratched me.”

He said he also is speaking to a lawyer about the incident.

Police Lt. Shawn Conway said the investigation is continuing and no decision has been made about whether to charge Diaz.

Diaz, who publishes the city’s leading bilingual newspaper, could not be reached yesterday. But in an interview Tuesday night, she said she felt threatened by what she described as O’Donoghue’s aggressive stance as the two argued about her campaign coverage in a corner of the crowded atrium at City Hall as Lantigua prepared to claim victory before a cheering and hooting crowd of 200 supporters.

“He got very close to me,” Diaz said. “I thought he was going to slap me. He said, ‘You’re always supporting Lantigua.’ I felt threatened. He came up to me — this close — yelling in my face that I lied. When he called me a liar, I just went like that and (O’Donoghue’s glasses) flew off. The worst thing someone can do is call me a liar or to say Rumbo lied.”

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