COURT HOUSE – A Sea Isle City man pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated assault, taking responsibility for attacking a well-known Philadelphia television personality at a Sea Isle bar last summer, at a hearing on Monday, Dec. 4, in Cape May County Superior Court, The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported.
Patrick Iannone, 22, testified that he punched Bob Kelly, a traffic reporter with FOX 29 who frequently hosts charity events at Jersey Shore bars, though Iannone said in court he did not know who Kelly was at the time of the July 30 incident at the Oar House Pub, the Inquirer reported.
Iannone will receive a recommended sentence of probation from the state in exchange for his plea, in addition to alcohol and anger management counseling and a no-contact-with-Kelly order, according to the report. A judge still must sign off on the deal, and Kelly can be heard at the time of sentencing.
Iannone learned afterward that his actions caused Kelly to suffer “significant bodily injuries,” including to his head and face, the Inquirer reported. Kelly was knocked briefly unconscious, suffered a cut to his eye that left a scar and was seeing spots resulting from the eye injury, according to the report. He was treated at Cape Regional Medical Center, according to previous Inquirer reporting.
Kelly was at the Oar House emceeing an event benefitting his Kelly’s Kidz charity, which collects and donates toys and other items for local pediatric hospitals. He was not at the plea hearing but plans to attend sentencing, in February, the Inquirer reported.
Kelly objected to Iannone’s being offered pretrial intervention, a diversion program that would have allowed the criminal charges to be dismissed if the program was completed, according to the report.
Prosecutors said complicating his admission to the pretrial intervention program was a simple assault charge he pleaded down to a disorderly conduct in municipal court, after a different incident at a different Sea Isle City bar, the Inquirer reported.
The reporter returned to the air after the incident, live from Margate on Aug. 1, and briefly addressed the assault, thanking his supporters. “I’m OK,” he said.
Kelly reportedly had a drink dumped on him by Iannone just prior to the punch, and Kelly said on the air that the incident was incited by a TikTok challenge, likening it to another episode that went viral, involving the rapper Cardi B, who was hit by a drink while performing in Las Vegas July 29.
“It was a frightening, disturbing event that apparently was incited by this TikTok challenge, similar to what you saw happen to Cardi B, with the water and being videoed,” Kelly said on the air, a video of which he posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “I hope that this can bring some light to this craziness and hopefully put a stop to it.”
Iannone is represented by defense lawyer John Tumelty. Senior Assistant Prosecutor Edward Shim is handling the case for the state. Iannone will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Christine Smith.