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Mayor Ed Murray: Political take down was not successful

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray responds to the withdrawal of a lawsuit against him alleging sexual abuse. (Seattle Channel)
LISTEN: Mayor Ed Murray responds to dropping of sexual abuse lawsuit

Update on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s lawsuit:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray responded to the sudden dropping of a sexual abuse lawsuit against him by saying the “political take down” to end his public career was not successful.

“I believe the withdrawal of the lawsuit vindicates me,” Murray said.

“This lawsuit was a painful experience … for victims of sexual abuse,” he said. “It was a painful experience for the vulnerable people who seem to have been exploited by an attorney with a publicity agenda … It was a painful experience for me, it was a painful experience for Michael, my husband, and a painful experience for my family.”

Murray reasserted that the allegations of sexual abuse are not true, and that he is considering legal options in response to the withdrawn lawsuit. He said that the lawyer representing his accuser, Lincoln Beauregard, “achieved a political goal” by stopping his re-election as Seattle mayor. He noted that Beauregard was sanctioned twice in “the short life of the case.”

“I think they have problems with their case … I think it was withdrawn because there wasn’t a case,” he said.

Despite addressing the serious issue, Murray appeared in good spirits. But he would not comment if he will run a write-in campaign to keep is job as Seattle mayor, or specifically what legal options he will consider.

“Of course you’re angry, you’re hurt … I have a lot of emotions; I’m Irish,” Murray said.

“Right now, all I can ask is will Michael let me have white wine on a school night?” he quipped.

Original story:

The man accusing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of abuse when he was a teenager has dropped the lawsuit, but will refile next year, The Seattle Times reports.

According to paperwork filed by Lincoln Beauregard, the accuser’s attorney, Delvonn Heckard of Kent wants to finish drug rehab before continuing with the case, the Times reports.

“Mr. Heckard feels as though it would be wise to complete his extensive counseling and recovery this December prior to moving forward with this matter,” the decision filed by Beauregard reads. “Additionally, Mr. Heckard determined that it would be better for the success of his lawsuit, and the citizens of the City of Seattle, for this matter to proceed at a later point in time after Mayor Murray is no longer sitting in power.

“At present, Mr. Heckard feels as though Mayor Murray garners litigation benefits by defending this lawsuit while simultaneously sitting as the Mayor.”

Beauregard goes on to say that Murray and his campaign and legal team have “tainted the jury pool” with “false information.”

The decision comes just over a month after Seattle mayor announced he will drop from the race. He cited the case as a specific reason for dropping out.

Murray’s lawyer said that dropping the lawsuit now “raises questions,” according to the Times. The news comes one day before Heckard was reportedly scheduled to provide answers under oath to questions posed by Murray’s legal team. They believe those answers would prove Heckard’s allegations to be false.

Beauregard argues otherwise and calls that claim a “fabrication.” He sent an email to Murray’s attorney’s following the news:

“Why are you lying to the media about Delvonn being deposed tomorrow? If that is true, show the reporters some proof that was agreed — because it is a total fabrication and you know it. And if you want, you can come down and depose Delvonn tomorrow anyways — as long as we can release the transcript to the media. Ok? Your level of dishonesty and lack of ethics is astounding.”

Ed Murray’s legal battle

Legal analyst Anne Bremner says dropping the lawsuit may be telling.

“It may well be that this was filed during this time period and it was deemed mission accomplished,” she told KIRO Radio. “Have they reached their goal? He [Murray] isn’t going to be mayor a few months from now.”

In the paperwork dismissing the case, Beauregard argues that the primary goal in relation to the lawsuit was “letting the public know the truth.” That, he wrote, was “accomplished.”

Murray has vehemently denied the claims that he sexually abused minors decades ago.

“They are not true and I say this with all honesty and the deepest sincerity,” he said.

Murray’s attorneys asked that the lawsuit making the claims be dismissed. His attorneys said that Heckard failed to state a legitimate claim in the lawsuit.

In a guest editorial by the mayor, he wrote that he believes the accusations against him are politically motivated.

Bremner said if the lawsuit is refiled, there is a chance it will be dismissed.

“There is a statute of limitations in this case because it took so long to file, and that still remains,” she explained. “So, by dismissing and refiling, not that you jeopardize that, but you certainly don’t strengthen your position.”

KIRO Radio legal analyst and former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna previously said that Murray faces a legal quagmire of being a public figure. However, he “potentially” has a path for recourse.

According to McKenna, Murray could counter-sue for defamation. However, because he is a public figure, he would have to go beyond claiming liable or slander and prove malice. That’s a higher standard than a private citizen in that a public figure must prove someone was aware of statements or claims they made were false or likely false.

The problem with that is it can get expensive.

“Litigation is expensive,” McKenna said. “Murray would spend a lot of money claiming defamation.”

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