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Tim Eyman calls to pack courtroom for nonexistent I-976 hearing

I-976 sponsor Tim Eyman. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The I-976 media circus came to a head Friday, when news cameras were lured to the King County Courthouse by the measure’s sponsor, Tim Eyman. Eyman had called for his supporters to flood the courthouse for a hearing related to the potential removal of state AG Bob Ferguson from his position defending the measure against a lawsuit.

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The only problem: There was never any hearing to speak of.

As the state AG’s office pointed out Friday, Eyman himself checked a box on a form, asking that there not be any oral argument for his motion to remove Ferguson. That means he actively chose not to put a hearing on the calendar, despite claiming otherwise in his attempts to muster news coverage.

That was further obscured by some crafty wording in Eyman’s rallying cry.

“Join me/us tomorrow, Fri, Dec 13, 8:45am, King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle. Outside Judge Marshall Ferguson’s courtroom on the 7th floor, Room E-713. We need to send a powerful message before he rules on our Motion to Appoint Outside Counsel due to Bob Ferguson’s intentional sabotage of I-976,” Eyman’s gubernatorial campaign proclaimed on Facebook

When a commenter asked point blank if there would be a hearing, the response was an equally obfuscating “see above,” when the more accurate answer would have been a simple “no.”

“Apparently this hearing on Eyman’s motion was more of an effort to get media to the hallway outside a judge’s courtroom,” KIRO Radio reporter Hanna Scott noted.

Eyman took full advantage of that opportunity, speaking for almost an hour to the assembled media in the courthouse hallway, streamed straight from his “Tim Eyman for Governor” Facebook page, and raking in the free coverage that had arrived under false pretenses.

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At the tail-end of the make-shift press conference, a reporter posed a question on many of our minds:

“Why did you guys file to have these hearings without oral argument?”

“We desperately asked for oral argument — we were begging for oral argument,” Eyman claimed.

“But that’s what you filed with the court, to not have that oral argument,” the reporter countered.

“No,” Eyman went on. “We asked repeatedly … they would not allow it.”

On one hand, we have Tim Eyman claiming that he was denied his hearing. On the other, we can see plain as day that he actively chose not to have the very oral arguments he claimed to “desperately” want.

All that culminated in yet another act in a media circus with no end in sight.

UPDATE: Eyman clarified in a phone call that the options presented to him by the court were to either have a judge rule on his motion on Friday, Dec. 13, or have oral arguments on Jan. 1, 2020. He opted to present his case to the assembled media at the earlier date.

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