National Enquirer Reporter Accused of "Extortion" by Cindy McCain's Alleged Beau

A Tempe used car salesman who the National Enquirer calls "Cindy McCain's Secret Lover" accuses the gossip rag's reporter of "extortion" and intimidating his family in an injunction against harassment petition.

Dino Castelli filed the petition (see link to actual document below) with the Maricopa County Superior Court on November 21, records show, the day after the Enquirer published its story about him. Enquirer reporter John South mercilessly stalked the Castelli family prior to writing his piece, according to Castelli's version of events.

Castelli, who told New Times earlier this week the rumor of an affair was "bullshit," claims in the petition that South called frequently, knocked on his door twice a day, parked and waited in front of his house and resisted when Castelli tried to close a door on him.


Castelli wrote that he even left town for five days to see if South would lose interest. But South persisted in trying to get his story, putting notes on the door of his business that Castelli believes "were designed to defame me and deter business..."

"I have reason to fear for the health and safety of my family and for my life," Castelli wrote.

South personally placed letters in Castelli's mailbox for 11 straight days, an activity "that I see as extortion," Castelli wrote.

Click here to see the document.

Judicial officer Brian Rees approved the court order the same day it was filed, banning South from contacting Castelli in any way.

The second page of the order states the prohibition is "absolute." (Curiously, it still allows South to e-mail or fax Castelli's wife and minor children, though not Castelli himself).

Really, though, South's behavior -- as described by Castelli -- doesn't seem all that nasty. Annoying, sure. Hostile or dangerous? Hardly.

It simply appears that South was determined to get his scoop.

And Castelli is desperate to avoid him.

Maybe there's something there after all...

-- Ray Stern

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern