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Kettle Mocks Guthrie with Fake Facebook Page

House GOP Spokesman out of a job, AG's office investigating, Guthrie pledges more charges will be filed.

The "Octo-Guthrie" cartoon posted on a fake Facebook page mocking Rep. Scott Guthrie (Photo via Facebook)
The "Octo-Guthrie" cartoon posted on a fake Facebook page mocking Rep. Scott Guthrie (Photo via Facebook)
The director of policy communication for the state GOP is out of a job and Coventry Sen. Nick Kettle is at the center of an investigation about his use of State House computers to create a fake Facebook page mocking political rival Rep. Scott Guthrie.

Coventry Police launched an investigation into the page in late December after Guthrie, who said in an interview that "more charges will [soon] be filed" with federal authorities, contacted them and said a fraudulent Facebook page was created using his name and a fake email address using his name.

The page was created on Nov. 7. With a profile picture of a heart and Guthrie's distinctive mustache, the fake Guthrie had apparently friended other state leaders and at first glance, you might not realize the deception with innocuous posts like "Merry Christmas everyone!" and "Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday."

But, Guthrie told police, the views in regards to the issues surrounding the Central Coventry Fire District "were opposite views and opinions of his" and he felt "the page was created for the sole reason to 'slander him personally and professionally.'"

Coventry Police got subpoenas and soon were able to confirm that it was Kettle who created the page by tracking the IP addresses used on Facebook to the Autumn Drive address that Kettle lives with his parents as well as a computer at the State House. Other addresses came back, but it was Kettle accessing the page during those times, police said.

Kettle did not cooperate with police or agree to answer questions under advice of his lawyer, Robert Watson, the former top GOP Republican in the Rhode Island House who was stripped of his leadership after he was charged with DUI and marijuana possession in 2011. 

The lead Coventry detective on the case, Kevin P. Harris, reported that Watson told him that he advised Kettle not to meet with police because "it could result in negative media publicity." 

Coventry Police believed there was enough evidence to constitute cyberharassment and turned to the state Attorney General. The initial review by the AG's office determined the Facebook page fell under First Amendment protection, prompting Coventry Police to close the case. 

But it's not over. An attorney general spokeswoman said the AG's office will continue to review the case and Guthrie said Wednesday that there will be more charges filed but could not elaborate because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Ousted GOP Spokesman Chuck Newton said in an interview that he helped Kettle create the page when he was asked to do it.

"It was a lapse in judgement," Newton, also the chairman of the East Greenwich Republican Town Committee, said. "I'd probably do it differently if asked to do it over."

Newton said he played a minimal role in the whole thing and simply helped get it set up.

He said Kettle came into the office one day and said "I got this cartoon," referring to a caricature of Guthrie as an octopus with tentacles clutching bags of money and reaching into a bucket of cash labeled "Fire Tax."

"I want to get it out," Kettle said. "How do I do it?"

They turned to the computer. 

"I said 'you can use Facebook,'" Newton said. "One thing led to another."

Kettle told the Providence Journal that he was merely trying to protect his constituents.

"I'm not going to apologize or complain about the rough and tumble politics that is Coventry," Kettle said. "We are dealing with a very divisive issue."

Kettle told the Journal that he was trying to show "who Rep. Guthrie is and what he has done to them in the legislature."

Newton said he hasn't had any contact from authorities and described the situation as "a tempest in a teapot," but Guthrie isn't taking the matter lightly and said he will soon be issuing a press release with more details about.

David Gorman February 07, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Here is the actual police report. Not sure if anyone posted it previously, sorry for the repost if it was already up, but i just readit and thought I would pass it along. You can read how the "outstanding" Senator refused to cooperate with Police. What a stand-up pillar of the community! His website claims to be "Rhode Island's Whistle Blower" Should probbaly read do as I say not as I do. ~ http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2014/02/05/guthrie-police-report.pdf
listening February 07, 2014 at 10:26 AM
David, it seems a little strange after reading the police report that they ask Kettle to come down, his attorney refuses, and they say OK there is insufficient evidence. What the heck?
harleyrider8272 February 07, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Dave are sure it said "whistle" blower??
honestresponse February 08, 2014 at 09:02 AM
ACLU says, that while the facebook page may be offensive to some, it is political satire. It is an exercise of Freedom of Speech. ACLU is urging AG Kilmartin to cease any investigations. I'm not sure that anyone would have really known about of all this until Guthrie was so "offended". Please, if you are going to be in politics, develop a thicker skin. If the Freedom of Speech (1st Amendment) goes, the next thing that goes is the Right to Bear Arms (2nd Amendment)
RS February 08, 2014 at 09:11 AM
LOL ACLU this is the same group that just fought to get the convicted murderer a sex change operation at taxpayer expense. I don't think the issue is whether or not this is satire or if the puppet Kettle has the right to say it. The issue here is that he misrepresented himself as Guthrie, and he did this on State time and State computers. So yes, the idiot kid Kettle can satirize whomever he wants, but not on my dime......

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