DiFiore heckled during re-election launch

Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore was confronted by protesters, who began heckling as she announced her candidacy for re-election Thursday.

During DiFiore's news conference in front of the Westchester County Courthouse, protesters accompanied by the controversial newspaper publisher Sam Zherka continually tried to shout down speakers, provoking a response from Westchester Democratic Chair Reginald Lafayette.

"What better example of [a] Democratic government when we allow this kind of harassment to go on and keep smiling," Lafayette said.

Zherka and his supporters kept referring to the fact that DiFiore was elected as a Republican four years ago, when she succeeded Jeanine Pirro, before switching political parties. They also kept shouting the names of defendants in controversial cases handled by the Westchester District Attorney's Office.

Despite repeated disruptions from the crowd of protesters, no arrests were made. Zherka later defended the heckling as an exercise of free speech.

"In a democracy, we have the right to voice our opinion, and it's a public forum," he said. "If she wanted to keep people from speaking out, she should have had this event in a private forum."

In a statement released by DiFiore's campaign, the district attorney said she will not be distracted or intimidated by the hecklers' "bully tactics."

For video of fight breaking out at DiFiore's re-election event in White Plains, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Ch. 612.

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