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Salerno. Unfounded charges: the journalists Piccenna and Grilli acquitted

Tried for seven articles on the investigation “Lucan Togas” published on the weekly Il Resto and not appreciated by the plaintiff, former Senator Emilio Nicola Buccico

In the hearing of 6 April 2016 Judge Maria Teresa Dezio of the Court of Salerno, acquitted – believing the accusations to be unfounded – the journalists Nicola Piccenna and Rocco Antonio Grilli, chief editor of the weekly from the Basilicata region Il Resto. During the trial, the facts of the investigation “Lucan Togas” were retraced, explained over seven articles published in 2008 on the behavior and the dangerous liaisons of some magistrates operating in Basilicata.

The two journalists had been indicted in 2011 after several lawsuits for libel presented by former Senator Emilio Nicola Buccico, also from the Lucan region, who formed a civil party in the trial.

The articles referred, among other things, of a professional assignment conferred to a relative and lawyer Angela Buccico. Also, they told of the conversations with the then Attorney of Potenza, Giuseppe Galante, and the Deputy Claudia De Luca: Buccico was not pleased with the publication of the contents of those talks. The articles also reported of the discovery of a Buccico lawsuit file in Giuseppe Chieco’s computer (then Public Prosecutor in Matera). There was no reason to justify the presence of that judicial act in the computer of the Matera magistrate. Another grievance of the plaintiff had dealt with the publication of the question posed to Nicola Mancino, then vice president of the CSM (superior council of the magistracy), about the inappropriateness of attending a convention of students on the topic of constitutional guarantees, which saw as a co-speaker Emilio Nicola Buccico, at the time of that convention under investigation for serious crimes (proceedings subsequently filed).

A long and difficult trial for the defendants, also for the highlight of the figure of the plaintiff. The lawyer Emilio Nicola Buccico from 1997 to 2001 was president of the National Bar Council; from 2002 to 2006 he was a lay member of the Superior Council of the Magistracy in quota of the National Alliance party; from 2006 to 2008 Senator of the Republic and member of the Judiciary Committee and the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission; from 2007 to 2009 Mayor of Matera.

After five years, the judge of the Court of Salerno concluded the trial against the two journalists believing the accusations against them to be unfounded and acquitting the defendants because “the crime does not exist” or because the “facts do not amount to offense”. During the hearings the defense lawyer of the accused had questioned, as witnesses, the former magistrate Luigi De Magistris, the captain of the Carabinieri Pasquale Zacheo and Marshal of the financial police Luigi Musardo, who were all leading the investigation “Lucan Togas”.

A large part of criminal proceedings for defamation and / or slander against Nicola Piccenna is due to the complaints from Emilio Nicola Buccico. Between June 2006 and July 2007, Buccico complained for all Piccenna’s articles in which he was mentioned: 52. Exactly the same number of issues published by “Il Resto” in the same arc of time. After that date many others had been the complaints by Buccico against the weekly, which produced other complaints against the journalist.

Hundreds were the hearings generated by the numerous proceedings. Ossigeno covered one of them in 2012.

Nicola Piccenna so commented on his latest acquittal: “As stated in the criminal charges, I am very often accused of defamation or implied innuendo. When you tell the true facts, there is no need to draw conclusions: those are drawn by the reader himself if he has a sufficient IQ. This annoys the powers that be. But all this – Piccenna concludes – is attributable to the same sequence of events, and not to the newspaper article, which did not alter the truth of the facts.”


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