Woman who punched Telemundo reporter on live TV pleads guilty

telemundo-reporter-attacked
A reporter from Telemundo was slapped by Waheedah Wilson during a broadcast outside City Hall.

Waheedah Wilson, who interrupted and then threw a sucker punch to an eye of Telemundo 62 reporter Iris Delgado while she was broadcasting in front of City Hall last month, pleaded guilty to simple assault Wednesday.

Wilson, 37, who has been jailed since the unprovoked June 8 attack because she could not afford bond for her $25,000 bail, entered the courtroom of Municipal Court Judge Jacqueline Frazier-Lyde wearing the same green T-shirt she wore during the incident, which made international news after it was captured on video.

When given a chance to speak, Wilson said she regretted her actions.

"I'm very apologetic. You won't have to worry about me coming back in here for these problems," said Wilson, who said she dropped out of school after 11th grade and had been living in a Broad Street homeless shelter.

Frazier-Lyde sentenced her to 60 days in jail with credit for time served. The sentence means that Wilson will be released from jail in 19 days.

Assistant District Attorney Elia Robertson said her office initially offered Wilson a plea deal of five to 18 months in jail followed by six months of probation for counts of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Defense lawyer William J. Ciancaglini said he counseled Wilson not to take the deal, which he considered too harsh for a single punch.

"It's Philadelphia. People punch each other all the time," he said during a court break before the judge's ruling. "It's a punch. It's not right, but it happens. I want her sentenced as everyone else would be for throwing one punch - and it's not five months in jail. You can't make a crime different just because it happened on television."

After negotiations, Robertson withdrew the plea deal, dropped the reckless-endangering charge, and asked Frazier-Lyde to sentence Wilson to a three-month jail term followed by six months' probation.

Delgado, who was in court Wednesday but did not speak, declined to comment.

So why did Wilson walk up to Delgado just after 11 p.m., tap her shoulder, say "Excuse me" twice, then slug her?

"Waheedah is a nice lady," Ciancaglini said. "I believe she was just maybe having a bad day and made a foolish decision."

deanm@phillynews.com

215-854-4172 @mensahdean