A former Pennsylvania State University student pleaded guilty this week in connection with an ethnically-motivated attack on a fellow student that his lawyer once argued was inspired in part by Donald Trump.
Nicholas Tavella, 20, was charged with felony ethnic intimidation and misdemeanor terroristic threats for a violent December confrontation. Tavella was accused of asking a fellow student on the university’s campus if he planned to rape a girl, grabbing him by the throat, and threatening to “put a bullet” in his chest, the Centre Daily newspaper reported Monday.
Tavella admitted that the attack was motivated by what he perceived as the victim’s perceived ethnicity. He reportedly asked the student if he was “from the Middle East” during the altercation.
The ex-student’s lawyer, Wayne Bradburn, had tried to convince a district judge that the attack was motivated in part by the Republican nominee’s rhetoric.
Bradburn said Tavella was moved by Trump’s rhetoric “covered in the media that may have incited fear of suspicious individuals,” the Centre Daily reported. Other instigating factors, according to Bradburn, were Tavella’s “love of country” and anger over the Paris terrorist attacks “which took place three days prior.”
While the judge did throw out the ethnic intimidation charge at the time, the charge was quickly re-filed, according to the newspaper.
Tavella is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18.
h/t Huffington Post