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Eye On Olympia

The Rossi deposition: excerpts — and a lot of fighting…

Wow, if there’s anything that can make the increasingly sharp-edged race for governor look like puppies playing, it’s lawyers.

I’m about halfway through the first transcript of attorneys questioning Republican candidate Dino Rossi as part of a lawsuit about a building industry group allegedly raising campaign funds illegally. So far, I’ve found no smoking gun saying that Rossi — as one of the opposing lawyers has claimed — illegally conspired with the group over campaign cash months before he was a candidate.

Rossi called that allegation “completely false.”

“I’m not going to speculate what they (the Building Industry Association of Washington) were going to do and not do,” he said later in the deposition. “I’m not involved in their meetings. I’m not part of their organization.”

He also repeatedly blasted the other side for what Rossi and his lawyer described as “a political charade for the press”, “frivolous”, “harassment,” etc.

Interestingly, Rossi suggests that for much of last year he was “75 percent” sure he wouldn’t run again. Why? Because he says he didn’t want to put his family through the stress again. The subpoena in this case, he says, was delivered to his teenage daughter at their home at 9:30 p.m.

The deposition also shows Rossi’s attorney objecting, over and over, to questions, their form, their relevance, compound sentences, etc.

Also, the lawyers — primarily Mike Withey as questioner, and a Mr. Patterson as Rossi’s attorney — clash, again and again: “Will you please stop interrupting me?…This is harassment…You don’t interrupt me…You were staring at me…This is unbelievable…You don’t need to stare me down, Mr. Withey. This is supposed to be an honorable profession…This is a disaster…You don’t need to stare at me in disdain,” etc.

Also: best transcription error: “decorum” was transcribed as “did he cough rum.”

Still reading. Will update soon.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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