Cleveland sports talker pleads no contest to reduced charge

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Tony-RizzoGood Karma Broadcasting’s WKNR-AM ESPN Radio host Tony Rizzo, accused of domestic violence in connection with an incident at his home in December, pleaded no contest 3/27 to a reduced charge of persistent disorderly conduct. It’s a fourth-degree misdemeanor. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, Cleveland.com reported Judge Dale Chase as saying. Rizzo’s case has been referred to the probation department for review before a sentencing hearing is set.


Rizzo, 52, was arrested 12/6 after his wife reported a domestic incident that occurred at the couple’s home. He was accused of hitting his wife in the face, according to a police report.

Rizzo’s lawyer filed a not guilty plea on his behalf 12/9 at Medina Municipal Court.

Rizzo’s wife Catherine Rizzo had called police and reported that she had locked herself in a bathroom because her husband hit her in the face. She says in a recording of the 911 call that her husband had been “choking her, hitting her in the face” prior to her call.

Rizzo is the co-host of “The Really Big Show,” which airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. He also hosts “The Rizzo Show,” which airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on Fox 8 in Cleveland.

The radio station said in a statement following the incident that Rizzo is “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.”

Cleveland.com noted that Rizzo’s attorney Paul Daiker said after the court appearance that, while he was confident Rizzo would’ve been acquitted if the case went to trial, Rizzo decided to plead no contest to avoid one.

“My client did not want to go to trial and put his family through this ordeal,” he said.

Matt Lanier, an assistant law director for the city of Medina, OH, said part of the reason the prosecution chose to pursue a plea deal was because Catherine Rizzo submitted an affidavit saying she’d initiated the Dec. 6 incident by hitting her husband with a glass. She also requested that the charges be dropped.

See the Cleveland.com story here.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.