As a blogger, you never know which otherwise boring, nondescript local politician might someday blossom into an endless source of amusing blog fodder. Take for example King County Councilwoman Jane Hague, who to this connoisseur of political snark has only grown better with age. In fact, we could say that Hague has aged like a fine wine… though if we did, she’d probably try to drink herself.
After she narrowly survived a hard-fought three-way race between herself, Richard Pope and a four-liter jug of Chablis, I had assumed that my fun at Hague’s expense was over. But that was before I received an email from Bellevue businessman Paul Brecht, one of Pope’s most ardent supporters during his 2007 run for county council, informing me that he is suing Hague, her husband, and her campaign consultants for defamation of character.
The lawsuit stems from a nasty piece of direct mail Hague sent out, in which she not only attacked her opponent (and God knows our friend Richard offers a rich enough vein there), but she also personally targeted Brecht for having the temerity to publicly endorse him:
Problem is, Brecht was never convicted of assault, and as he points out in his complaint, he has never been “on the top of any ‘law enforcement list’ of any sort for any reason.”
Defamation cases are awfully hard things to win in court. For example, I could relentlessly accuse Hague of eating babies, and she could never win a defamation case against me because nobody in their right mind could reasonably believe that I was seriously accusing her of baby eating. (Though, in fact, Hague does indeed eat babies. Really.) Or, I could falsely accuse her of taking bribes from Eastside developer Skip Rowley, and I’d be pretty much safe as long as I retracted the charge. (Though I’d like to see Hague prove that she doesn’t take bribes from Rowley. Huh? Betcha can’t, Jane.)
And let’s not forget that as a boozing, baby-eating public figure, Hague has even fewer protections against defamation than, say, an ordinary private citizen like Brecht. Hague falsely and maliciously attacked Brecht’s character in retaliation for him endorsing her opponent, and while I’m not sure if her lies quite fit the legal definition of “defamation,” it certainly fits the common definition of being an “asshole.”
In any case, Brecht’s day in court is approaching, and he’s in need of an attorney now that Pope is likely to be called as a witness. So if anybody wants to help out, drop me an email and I’ll hook the two of you up.