Princeton graduate student sentenced in Trump sign theft

This is not the first Princeton-related sign theft to end up in court

Matthew Gliatto, a first-year graduate student in the Department of Geosciences and Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a disorderly persons offense, and was sentenced in West Windsor Municipal Court on March 22, public records show.

The Tab previously reported that Lee Eric Newton, best known at Princeton for being the Trump supporter frequently found outside FitzRandolph Gate, had decided to press charges when someone “walked up his driveway, opened his unlocked car door, retrieved a Make America Great Again sign from inside, and tossed it into the garbage can.”

An open letter in the Scientific American to President Trump concerning climate change was apparently signed by Gliatto.

Gliatto was sentenced to $333 in court and other miscellaneous costs, and he was enrolled in a conditional dismissal program, under which further proceedings against the defendant are dropped at the end of one year as long as no further qualifying offenses are committed. Miscellaneous costs may include restitution.

Gliatto declined to be interviewed for this story.

Under New Jersey law, enrollment in a conditional dismissal program, when successfully completed, is not considered a conviction for certain purposes, even though the defendant entered a guilty plea or was found guilty by the court.

Charges of criminal trespass and theft by unlawful taking were dismissed.

Newton said in a previous interview that his decision to press charges was not political.

“My decision to move forward and press charges is not political, in fact I thought long and hard trying to remove all other circumstances and information out of the incident to come to the basic decision that the man broke the laws of our township,” Newton said. “If we are going to be a country where people respect each other and each other’s property, then we must respect the laws that we the people have set up and agreed to govern ourselves.”

This incident is not the first alleged sign theft by a University affiliate to end up in municipal court.

In 2014, Princeton Municipal Court Judge John McCarthy III ’69 dismissed a theft charge against ORFE professor John Mulvey on the condition that Mulvey complete 120 hours of community service. Ted Horodynsky, president of Princeton Computer Tutor and Repairs, alleged that Mulvey had stolen his business’s signs in retaliation for supposedly cutting Mulvey off in traffic. Mulvey was arrested after Horodynsky set up cameras around his signs, which had been disappearing.


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