Photo of Anthony Martinelli courtesy City of Des Moines
By Nicholas Johnson

A Des Moines Municipal Court judge has agreed to allow city councilmember Anthony Martinelli to have supervised visits with his 1-year-old son in spite of allegations that he assaulted the child’s mother in front of the child in December 2020.

Judge Pauline Freund modified one of two no-contact orders Thursday (Dec. 2, 2021) to allow Martinelli to see his child in the presence of a third-party adult, likely Martinelli’s mother, who has helped the child’s mother care for the child since Martinelli was arrested Oct. 22 on six domestic violence-related charges stemming from three separate incidents dating to December 2020.

The second order barring Martinelli from contacting the mother of his child remains in effect despite a request made Thursday in court by the child’s mother to drop both orders.

“I’m not in danger and I haven’t been,” the child’s mother told Judge Freund. “I want to get my family back together.”

Martinelli, who did not appear in court Thursday, was represented by his attorney, Gina Buskirk of Puget Law Group. A pre-trial hearing scheduled for Thursday was pushed to Jan. 20 to allow for ongoing negotiations between Buskirk and attorney Abraham Ritter, a conflict prosecutor handling the case for the city.

“It looks like we may have a resolution at the time of the next hearing,” Ritter told the court Thursday.

Martinelli pleaded not guilty Oct. 25 to the charges against him – including fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, two counts of harassment, exposing children to domestic violence and interfering with reporting domestic violence.

According to court documents, the mother of Martinelli’s child had told her mother, who lives out of state, about the three separate incidents. Following the third incident, in August, the child’s grandmother contacted Des Moines police.

Upon Martinelli’s arrest, Mayor Matt Pina released a statement encouraging Martinelli to resign his seat on the city council. Martinelli has not done so and told The Waterland Blog on Thursday that he does not plan to.

In a 5-1 vote Nov. 18, the council formally censured Martinelli in light of the allegations against him, removing him from his committee assignments – the Ad Hoc Franchise Committee, and the Public Safety and Emergency Management Committee – through Dec. 31, 2021.

Councilmember JC Harris opposed the censure, while Martinelli, whose term runs through 2023, was absent during the Nov. 18 meeting.

Nicholas Johnson (he/him) is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who grew up in Boulevard Park, graduated from Highline High School and studied journalism at Western Washington University. Send news tips, story ideas and positive vibes to [email protected].