Independent candidate for governor Joseph Trillo was charged with the ‘inadvertent’ simple assault of a then teenaged Nicholas Mattiello, now the powerful democratic Speaker of the House in the 1970’s, WPRO morning show host Gene Valicenti revealed Wednesday morning.
Trillo told Valicenti that the incident “really wasn’t a big deal, at the time we were arguing with the Mattiellos next door because the kids had used some dirt bikes in the neighborhood, and they were upset because I was calling the police on them.”
According to Trillo, his neighbors had left their children home alone. Two other children, including a young Mattiello, were knocking on the door. Trillo says he tried to disperse the group and while waving his arms accidentally hit Mattiello.
“During the early 1970’s, I owned a Cranston home on Surrey Drive, which was next door to the Mattiello family. One day while I was outside working on my house, I heard a young girl who was left home alone in another neighboring home, screaming. When I looked to see what was happening, I saw a group of young boys pounding on the front door. The girl, who had to be around 12 or 13 years old at the time, was terrified the boys were going to get inside the house,” said Joe Trillo.
He added, “I immediately dropped everything I was doing and ran over to the house, and started waving my arms around furiously to disband the group of boys doing everything they could to get in that house. That’s when one of my arms unintentionally struck young Nicholas Mattiello, who was approximately 14 years old. At that time, the boys did disband, leaving the girl alone.”
“When I reflect on that day, while I wish I hadn’t accidentally came in contact with Nicholas Mattiello, I know I did the right thing, trying to protect the frightened young girl.”
“I would ask anyone with a wife, an elderly mother, a young daughter or sister left home alone, with that same situation going on, would they want a neighbor to do what I did, or a neighbor who sits by and does nothing, to avoid conflict for themselves at all costs?”
Trillo, who plead nolo, says he was not fined and the case was help for a year and then expunged.
Trillo and Mattiello are now friendly. The speaker’s office told Valicenti that Mattiello doesn’t remember what happened and deferred to Trillo.
During the interview, Trillo brought up Republican challenger Allan Fung’s 1989 car crash that killed a 41 year old Pawtucket man on Route 95. Fung was 18 years old at the time.
“Let’s talk about the night that Allan Fung killed a person on 95, and shot the person in the air 96 feet,” Trillo said. “We don’t know whether Allan Fung was drunk, was on drugs, we don’t know anything about it, and Allan Fung doesn’t want to talk about it.” Fung was not indicted in the crash.
Fung appeared later in Valicenti’s program and said that Trillo was “unhinged.”
“You have someone in his 30’s slapping, punching, whatever, a 13 year old kid. That’s not a laughing matter,” Fung said.
Listen to both conversations below: