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Sunday, April 14, 2024


Jan. 30, 2002 – Nearly six years after Sen. Adelbert Bryan smashed the camera of then-V.I. Daily News photographer Steve Rockstein during a legislative session, a federal appeals court has upheld the senator's conviction of destruction of property.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected Bryan's appeal of his 1998 conviction in District Court.
Rockstein, who now oversees the state photography operation of The Philadelphia Inquirer, said Wednesday that the appellate court ruling confirmed the obvious.
"I never felt the need for vindication," he said. "I always knew I was right and he was not. He was trying to trample on my rights — and the rights of the public at large."
Bryan turned on Rockstein, damaging his camera, after demanding that the photographer stop taking his picture in the Senate chambers while the Legislature was in session. By law, legislative meetings are open to the press and the public.
The trial court sentenced Bryan to 90 days on probation, fined him $200, with $75 of that suspended, and ordered him to pay $350 restitution for the damaged camera. Bryan also was censured and suspended by his colleagues following the attack.
Rockstein said he "never got a nickel" from the senator for the damaged camera. He added, "As I understand it, this conviction will prevent him from running for governor. And if that's the case, it was worth every bit of trouble."

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