Attorney Lincoln Beauregard contends that Murray and his legal team “have tainted the possibility of hosting a fair trial in King County by spreading a false narrative” that their law firm is anti-gay.
The lawyers for the man suing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for alleged sexual abuse are seeking to have the case moved to Pierce County and want sanctions brought against Murray’s attorney for “concocting and spreading a false narrative” that their law firm is “anti-gay.”
Lincoln Beauregard, the Seattle attorney who represents Murray’s accuser, Delvonn Heckard, contends in a motion filed Thursday that the mayor and his legal team, headed by Robert Sulkin, “have tainted the possibility of hosting a fair trial in King County by spreading a false narrative about Mr. Heckard’s attorneys and the motivations underpinning the filing of the lawsuit.”
The motion added the mayor’s attorneys’ have violated ethics standards “by concocting and then spreading a false narrative that Lincoln C. Beauregard and Jack Connelly Jr. fabricated this lawsuit to perpetuate an `anti-gay’ and/or homophobic agenda.”
The motion seeks a change of venue for the case, which now has an April 2018 trial date. It also requests that the court sanction Sulkin’s legal team at least $5,000 for ethics violations.
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Malaika Eaton, one of Murray’s attorneys, declined to directly comment on the motion in an email sent Friday to The Seattle Times.
“Please advise your readers that we do not believe it is appropriate to comment on the pending motion,” she wrote. “ We will provide our response to the Court, so that the Court can resolve the issue.”
Murray has vehemently denied allegations by Heckard and three other men who have separately accused him of paying them for sex when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Heckard is the only party to the lawsuit.
Murray, 63, a longtime gay-rights champion, former state lawmaker and first-term Seattle mayor who last week dropped out of his re-election bid because of the scandal, has blamed the allegations on an anti-gay political conspiracy.
The mayor and his team have pointed to the politics of one of Beauregard’s legal partners, Connelly, to bolster the conspiracy theory. Among his conservative stances, Connelly favors traditional marriage and supported an initiative to repeal a state policy allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.
Connelly, a Tacoma Democrat and practicing Catholic, has since taken issue with the mayor’s claims, contending he holds no homophobic resentment and isn’t involved in Heckard’s case.
Heckard and one other accuser, Lavon Jones, have both said they are gay. Heckard, Jones and two other men who’ve accused Murray — Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson — all have denied politics motivated their allegations against the mayor.
Beauregard’s motion described Murray’s conspiracy theory as a “defamatory narrative” that has been spread to the public by local media, including The Seattle Times. It also specifically pointed to an Op-Ed piece Murray published in the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger, on April 14 that cited Connelly’s politics and called him ‘the accuser’s primary attorney.”
“As an evidentiary matter, Mayor Murray and his lawyers possess no evidence … that the personal politics of any member of the Connelly Law Firm played a role in Mr. Simpson, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Jones and Mr. Heckard accusing Mayor Murray of child prostitution,” the motion states.
A hearing on the motion is set for May 26.
Earlier this month, King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván sanctioned and fined Beauregard $5,000 for ethics violations related to what she described as his “troubling” court filings. She agreed with Murray’s attorneys that some of Beauregard’s filings in the case seemed to be aimed at generating publicity.
Beauregard said in a brief interview Thursday that the sanction order against him had nothing to do with his latest motion.
“This is solely about their defamatory narrative,” he said. “They have nothing to prove it, it’s a violation of court rules and they’ve tainted the jury pool by falsely claiming me and my partner are homophobes.”