Lincoln Beauregard, the attorney representing Mayor Ed Murray’s accuser, had requested the venue change, accusing the mayor and his legal team of tainting the potential jury pool by spreading “a false narrative” that the case was driven by an anti-gay agenda.
A judge has rejected a request by lawyers for a man suing Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for alleged sexual abuse to move the case to Pierce County — and warned attorneys against using the media to make an “extravagant spectacle.”
Lincoln Beauregard, the Seattle attorney representing Murray’s accuser, Delvonn Heckard, had requested the venue change in a motion earlier this month. He argued the mayor and his legal team tainted the potential jury pool in King County by spreading “a false narrative” that the case was driven by an anti-gay agenda.
In a written ruling issued Friday afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván denied the request, saying Beauregard had failed to establish that a venue change was proper.
“Plaintiff’s counsel contends that it is publicity about himself and his law firm that is so inflammatory that a fair trial cannot be had. The irony of this contention is not lost on the court,” Galván wrote in an apparent reference to Beauregard’s own frequent media statements. “Regardless, the Court does not find Plaintiff’s argument meritorious, and will not insulate counsel from their own strategic machinations.”
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Galván wrote that a trial in the case was a long way off and King County’s pool of potential jurors was large enough to ensure a fair panel could be found.
She also rejected Beauregard’s request for sanctions against Murray’s legal team of at least $5,000 for ethics violations. Galván earlier this month had imposed a $5,000 fine against Beauregard for filing court documents she deemed irrelevant to the case and aimed at generating publicity.
In a round of court filings this week, Murray’s attorneys Robert Sulkin and Malaika Eaton opposed Beauregard’s motion, and filed declarations denying they had spread a false narrative about his motives.
Sulkin and Murray spokesman Jeff Reading did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Murray has adamantly 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. Acknowledging the damage done by the accusations, though, he ended his re-election bid this month.
Beauregard, in an email, said the judge’s order spoke for itself, adding “we have a standing practice of not criticizing judicial rulings in public, even when they’re overtly inequitable.”
Near the end of her ruling, Galván criticized all sides in the case against trying the case in the media.
“It is clear that counsel for each of the parties, in their own fashion, have engaged in a strategy of using the fourth estate as a tool to produce an extravagant spectacle.”
“While the denizens of the Emerald City may be impressed by the wizardry of it all, this Court is not. This Court is obligated to look at the substance behind the curtain — look to the facts, the evidence and the law,” she wrote.