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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Developer Harlan Douglass pleads guilty to assault

Spokane developer Harlan Douglass will serve no additional jail time for slapping an opposing lawyer during a heated civil suit last spring.

Douglass, 78, was taciturn in a brief court hearing Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault. He chose not to make a statement before sentencing.

The altercation occurred after Douglass testified against an insurance company his property company was suing on April 15, court documents say. He got into a heated argument with opposing attorney Warren Robinson during recess in a Spokane County Superior Court hallway. Robinson told police he tried to leave, but Douglass slapped his ear, then grabbed his wrist and pushed him against a wall.

Douglass’ attorney, Rob Cossey, said the assault happened while emotions were running high.

“My client was very frustrated. It was minimal contact,” Cossey said.

Douglass was initially charged with third-degree assault, a felony. As part of the plea deal accepted by Judge Greg Sypolt, he will receive credit for one day in jail and an additional 363-day sentence, which will be suspended if Douglass has no new criminal charges filed against him in the next year. Douglass was also ordered to pay $700 in court fees.

Douglass’ probation will be unsupervised, which Cossey said was necessary for him to continue traveling regularly.

Cossey said the deal came after difficult, time-consuming negotiations.

“We think it’s a fair resolution,” he said.

After the hearing, Douglass exited the courtroom flanked by family and hugged Cossey before shaking his hand. Cossey said he would seek to have the conviction stricken from Douglass’ record after one year. Douglass has no prior criminal convictions, court records say.

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