Cole Bartiromo got to meet his hero Donald Trump last week at the presidential candidate’s rally in Costa Mesa. In the brief encounter, Trump autographed Bartiromo’s $500 bill when making the rounds after his speech. Outside the Pacific Amphitheater, the Mission Viejo man had another encounter of a different kind. Engaged in a shouting match with protesters on Fair Drive, a girl suddenly plucked Bartiromo’s “Make America Great Again” hat off his head.
The Trump fan lunged wildly at the girl and the crowd until a sucker punch opened a gash on his forehead, leaving him dazed and contused. Since then, Bartiromo’s been making the media rounds as a “news blogger” on local television news channels telling his side of the story. His bloodied face even graced the cover of the New York Post. But none of the interviews bother delving into the recent extremist rants by the fervent Trump supporter about Muslims and undocumented immigrants while having sought to confront “the protesters that are ruining America,” as he put it in a Facebook post ahead of the rally. And it isn’t the first time Bartiromo’s name has splashed across headlines.
Back in 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first put Bartiromo on blast, naming him as the “mastermind” behind Internet swindling schemes that year. Just a 17-year-old senior at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo at the time, Bartiromo stood accused of scamming more than 1,000 people through “Invest Better 2001,” an online website that promised big risk-free returns on sports bets. In a separate fraud case, the teen accessed his dad’s online brokerage account to drive up stock prices on publicly traded companies by spreading false information on the internet before cashing out to the tune of $91,000. The SEC partially settled with Bartiromo when he returned the ill-gotten gains from the scam as well as $1.6 million from the other.
The experience didn’t really change Bartiromo much. The SEC sought a fine of $1.3 million that has since ballooned. The IRS tacked on taxes and penalties totaling $1.1 million, fueling a government conspiratorial mindset in Bartiromo. He got in trouble with the law just two years later, pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud a Wells Fargo bank in Mission Viejo for $450,000 and failing to deliver auctioned Ebay goods after collecting winning bids. Facing 35 years in prison, Bartiromo ended up serving just 33 months. After being released for the white-collar crimes in 2006, he violated a cellphone use probation term in 2009, sending him back behind bars for another 13 months. The Orange County Register profiled Bartiromo in 2010, when he portrayed himself as a man working to distance himself from his prison past.
But even that effort didn’t get too far when The Daily Beast profiled Bartiromo’s efforts as a bully blogger who doggedly and mysteriously took the side of Isidro Garcia, a Bell Gardens man recently sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting his friend’s 15-year-old daughter. Bartiromo’s NewsBall Blog posted a photo of the OC victim while naming her. “Bartiromo wants a second chance by denying one to anyone else,” Brandy Zadrozny wrote in her 2014 piece.
When Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign promised the United States of America a supposed second chance to become “great again,” Bartiromo found a political savior. He posted extreme messages on Facebook targeting Muslims and undocumented immigrants, including a removed rant declaring, “I want all Muslims dead.” In another internet tirade, Bartiromo declared, “FUCK YOU MUSLIMS! GET THE FUCK OUT BEFORE TRUMP AMERICA GETS HERE! PROUD TO BE ANTI MUSLIM / ISLAM !!!”Bartiromo’s views on immigration are just as barbaric. When stoked about Trump’s plan to build an even bigger wall after being rebuffed by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Bartiromo detailed a violent fantasy about how to stop border crossings. In his twisted mind, he’d build two parallel walls a mile apart, let lions and other killer animals roam in between and drop meat down from helicopters once a month.”Any mother fucker digging tunnels under the 1st wall will pop up in between the walls & be eaten alive by the hundreds of beasts in every damn area from California to Texas,” Bartiromo wrote.
He ignored a request for an interview by Weekly Mexican-in-Chief Gustavo Arellano, instead posting on Facebook:
a little “Jorge Ramos” wannabe from OC Weekly wants to further attack me for the racist, riot inciter, Mexican flag waiving piece of trash he is ( http://www.ocweekly.com/…/its-not-only-ok-for-activists-to-… ). I hear he doesn’t like the interviews I’ve done against the disruptors, & wants to put my life in further danger with a new article just for me! Afterwards, he will be discredited & embarrassed – how fitting an outcome as uninformed & uneducated has been the theme of the anti-Trump disruptors.
After getting decked in Costa Mesa, Bartiromo has revived his NewsBall blog and is offering a $1,000 reward for information on his attacker. But by the looks of it, Bartiromo needs more help than just getting the six stitches taken off his forehead.