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Broward 2010: The Biggest Day of the Year in News

The media is real big on year-end lists of the biggest stories. I've already done a post relating that the biggest story this year in Broward County was corruption and the arrests it has brought so far. 

But there is one day this year that stands out above all the rest. It had a big news peg, but it was the sideshow that made it extraordinary, eccentric, and exciting. Click inside to relive it.

The date: January 27.

The news: Ponzi scheming attorney Scott Rothstein pleads guilty.

But the headline wasn't what made this the day of the year in Broward County news. Everybody already knew Scott Rothstein was singing. And inside all the courtroom, he only said one important word: guilty.

No, it wasn't what happened inside the courtroom that made this the biggest newsday of the year. It was the circus outside it.

There, Rothstein's wife, Kim, made her first public statement about the scandal, beginning, "Today is the saddest day of my life." Then she said that she'd been devastated after marrying the "sweetest man" and that she has been "isolated and wrongfully maligned." She repeatedly declared that she had nothing to do with her husband's crimes and complained of the "public slurs and accusations" against her.

See the video here in all its glory.

But that was just the beginning.

As Kim was getting into her waiting Escalade, a TV reporter named Jack Hambrick tried to question her. Her bodyguard at the time, Joe Alu, was having none of it, giving him a stiff-arm.

Here's how I described it at the time:

Hambrick dashed over to get a question in with Kim, nearly outrunning the wires connected to his cameraman, who stumbled on the way. As Hambrick approached Kim, Alu blocked him physically and pushed him away.

The altercation escalated, and Hambrick drove Alu, a muscular and tattooed man who goes by the nickname "Meaty," backward and then down onto his back in some bushes. They wrestled in the bushes for a time before Hambrick was pulled off of Alu. "He's a cop, he's a fucking cop!" yelled Alu's son, Dominic, referring to Alu's service with Plantation Police Department. At one point Dominic and the cameraman nearly got into it themselves.

"You assaulted him," the cameraman said to Alu.

"No, he grabbed me," Alu said back. 

I didn't see any punches thrown, but it was a pretty good skirmish. A red-faced Alu rose, found his phone, and got in the SUV. Hambrick walked back into the parking garage. I walked over to Hambrick and asked him if he was OK. "I'm good," he said, still out of breath.

Here's a photo illustration of the thing from Channel 12's coverage:

After the fight, Alu, had this to say.

"He came charging up, and I said, 'Back up, back up,' and he ran into my arms. I pushed him back and said 'back off.' And he decides to charge at me. I just wrapped him up so he couldn't throw any fucking punches at me. I grabbed ahold of him, and when I fell backwards over the planter, I grabbed him with me so he couldn't throw any punches. I was just trying to protect Kim. I'm not throwing any punches; are you kidding me?"  

I may try to come up with a compilation of the best posts of the year, but nothing in 2010 could outdo that one day. 

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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