SAN DIEGO — A man who was caught on tape attacking a television news reporter was sentenced Friday to a year in jail and ordered to complete anger management classes.
Assad “Sam” Suleiman, 37, pleaded guilty in April to assaulting Fox 6 News San Diego reporter John Mattes in the upscale La Jolla area last September. His wife, Rosa Barraza, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and was ordered Friday to perform 30 days of community service.
In footage aired by the station, Mattes was conducting an interview outside a home when a woman identified as Barraza appeared. She smacked Mattes with a water bottle before she was joined by Suleiman, who punched Mattes in the face and put him in a headlock.
Mattes, who was investigating a suspected real estate scam, suffered cracked ribs, bite wounds and cuts to his face.
Suleiman’s attorney, Kerry Steigerwalt, told Superior Court Judge John Einhorn that his client had stopped taking medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder at the time of the attack.
At his sentencing hearing, Suleiman apologized to Mattes but criticized the reporter for being too invasive.
“There is no stopping this man,” said Suleiman, who said his family and business had been destroyed in the aftermath of the episode.
Mattes told the court he was doing his job as an investigative reporter and that Suleiman chose to respond with violence.
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