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breaking news

Videographer pleads no contest to assault charges from Carlisle football game

Published: Friday, February 14, 2020 @ 3:50 PM

David Sapp, 52, of Centerville, Utah, was arrested on three counts of assault and one count of resisting arrest, according to a Carlisle police report.

After entering no contest pleas Friday, a freelance CBS News videographer was placed on diversion for six months for assaulting three Carlisle men at a Sept. 13 football game while trying to take video of Brooke Skylar Richardson and her family.

An attorney representing David Sapp entered waivers for a jury trial and to appear in court as well as no contest pleas to three counts of assault, which are first-degree misdemeanors, and one count of resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Franklin Municipal Court Judge Ronald Ruppert accepted the written no contest pleas but did not make any findings against Sapp, 52, of Centerville, Utah. Ruppert placed Sapp on diversion and if he completes the terms of the diversion program, the charges will be dismissed and can later seek to have his case file and record of non-conviction sealed.

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MORE: Photographer charged with assault after Skylar Richardson case expected to plead no contest

In Ohio, the maximum penalty for the assault charge is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ruppert reset Sapp’s case for Aug. 14.

MORE: Franklin judge rejects motions in CBS News videographer’s assault case

Richardson was found not guilty on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering but was convicted of abuse of a corpse on Sept. 12, the day before the game. She was accused of having a baby in secret, murdering her and burying her in the backyard in May 2017. She was sentenced to seven days in jail — but credited for time served — and three years community control earlier on the day of the game.

MORE: Videographer files response in Carlisle football game assault case

According to Carlisle police, officers working security were told at the end of the game that there was a fight happening behind the home stands, according to a police report. They found multiple men wrestling with another man on the ground at Laughlin Field.

The three men who were involved in the fight, including the head of the school’s football boosters program, told police that Sapp “was attempting to record the Richardson family and was under the bleachers.” They said they told Sapp he needed to leave and Sapp struck them with his camera, according to police.

MORE: ‘Everyone needs to let it go’: Carlisle police, district react after fight at football game

Sapp was part of a six-person CBS News team that went to the football game Sept. 13 to gather video for a news report about Richardson’s high-profile murder trial. In October, Sapp’s attorney filed a motion claiming the state’s assault statute was being used to violate his news gathering rights that are protected by the Ohio and U.S. constitutions.

Sapp’s attorney claimed a woman complained to football support staff about Sapp shooting video, and three men confronted him. Sapp allegedly kicked or kneed two of the men in the groin and struck one in the head with his camera. Sapp’s attorney also claimed the men were “government actors” motivated by “media animus” because one of the men was a Carlisle schools custodial worker and was the high school boosters president.

Report: Videographer charged with assault who tried to film Richardson family at Carlisle football game

Ruppert ruled in November that Sapp’s First Amendment rights were not violated, so he declined to dismiss the charges. He also ruled that Sapp’s requested material was not connected to the charges in this case.