Rep. Patterson may sue Raney; not sure whether he’ll run again, resign

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comNovember 18, 2013 

Lawmaker's Campaign Claims

Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, owns and operates a lubricant manufacturing plant in West Boise. Rock ‘N’ Roll Lubricants sells its products internationally for bicycles, motorcycles and firearms.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

— Idaho Rep. Mark Patterson says he’s been slandered and is considering suing Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney for damages.

Patterson also said he may appeal Raney’s revocation of his concealed weapons license in court. But the freshman Boise lawmaker said he’s not sure he’ll run again and didn’t rule out resignation before his term ends late next year.

In an interview aired Monday on 580 KIDO, Patterson alleged Raney illegally spoke to the Idaho Statesman about his revocation of Patterson’s concealed weapons license to advance Raney’s own political ambitions.

“There’s no secret that Gary Raney wants to run for higher office and I believe that this is a hit piece to protect him when he does run for a higher office so he can write me off as some kind of criminal and a nut job,” Patterson told KIDO’s Kevin Miller.

(You can listen to the audio of Patterson's interview here, here and here.)

Both Patterson and Raney were elected as Republicans.

“The actions by the Sheriff’s Office followed law, including protecting personal information relevant to concealed weapons permits,” Raney said Monday. “We had a duty and followed it. Any suggestion otherwise is false.”

Patterson has had calls to resign, said his lawyer, Alexandria Kincaid, who participated in the interview. Said Kincaid: “I think the proper course of action for Rep. Mark Patterson we don’t know yet. We don’t know what it is.”

Asked if he will run next year, Patterson said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future as far as re-election or anything goes.”

Patterson said the revelation that he was twice charged with rape in the 1970s has been “devastating.”

On Oct. 29, Raney revoked Patterson’s license after concluding Patterson failed to disclose his 1974 guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape in Florida and received a withheld judgment.

Patterson told KIDO he answered correctly on his application when he said he had never had a withheld judgment. “You have to go back to the state where the charges were initially filed and use that state law,” Patterson said. “And that state law says it was set to the side as if it never happened and I was obligated to put down ‘No.’”

Raney cited Idaho law that makes an applicant with a withheld judgment for a serious felony — including assault with intent to commit rape — ineligible for a license.

Kincaid, who specializes in firearms law, said Raney’s disclosure to the Statesman that he revoked Patterson’s license violates Idaho law that makes license applications confidential. Raney has said that what he disclosed was his decision to revoke the license — not details of the application —and that information was not confidential.

Kincaid cited possible violations of federal civil rights law and abuse of public office by Raney. She also said a letter had been written seeking a criminal investigation. Patterson said he had been slandered.

Miller did not ask Kincaid or Patterson to elaborate on their legal strategy or on a possible federal civil rights violation, slander or abuse of office. Patterson, Kincaid and another Patterson lawyer, Wade Woodard, did not respond to a request from the Statesman for details.

“Legal action is being pursued,” Kincaid told Miller during the 33-minute interview taped Friday. “This isn’t about whether he committed rape or didn’t commit rape or he’s guilty of rape from the 1970s. This is about whether there is some kind of vindictive behavior or abuse of public office.”

In a plea bargain with prosecutors in Tampa, Fla., Patterson pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit rape in July 1974. He was sentenced to five years’ probation. In 1976, a judge ended the probation three years early. In 1977, Patterson was charged with rape in Cincinnati and acquitted by a judge.

Patterson told the Statesman in an Oct. 31 interview that Raney was retaliating for Patterson’s complaint that lobbyists for the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association failed to file reports under Idaho’s Sunshine Law early this year. The lobbyists opposed Patterson’s House Bill 219, which would have made it a misdemeanor for state and local law enforcement officers to enforce any new federal gun restrictions.

Raney is president of the association, which was neutral on the bill. Raney, however, personally opposed HB 219. After Patterson complained, association lobbyists filed new and amended Sunshine reports with Idaho’s secretary of state.

Patterson made the same case in the Statesman interview, which was published Nov. 10. He repeated his argument on the radio interview: “I was targeted because I took on the establishment and I took on Gary Raney.” He added that “dirty tricks” by lobbyists Mike Kane and Vaughn Killeen of the sheriffs' association killed HB 219 in the Senate.

On May 21, Patterson wrote Raney asking for the Sheriffs’ Association’s financial records. That request was denied under a 1989 attorney general's opinion that says the records of such associations are not covered by Idaho's public records law.

On May 22, Raney wrote Patterson to say he was moving to revoke his license, citing Patterson’s failure to disclose the 1974 withheld judgment. Patterson provided both letters to the Statesman last month.

“The charges from the ’70s never became an issue until May 22nd when the letter came from the sheriff’s office after they received Rep. Patterson’s letter inquiring into the lobbying efforts,” Kincaid said.

The sheriff’s office approved licenses for Patterson in 2007 and 2012. Raney has said he doesn’t know why the withheld judgment wasn’t invoked to deny Patterson a license. Raney has said his office received a tip about Patterson’s criminal history earlier this year, prompting an investigation and the revocation of Patterson’s license.

KIDO’s Miller did not ask Patterson about the details of either rape charge or the 1974 Tampa police report obtained by the Statesman under Florida’s public records law. Then 21, Patterson’s 46-year-old accuser said she was twice raped by Patterson, who, she said, threatened to have his 85-pound Doberman pinscher attack.

On Oct. 31, Patterson told the Statesman “the cops lied.” On the day the first Statesman story was published, Patterson issued a statement saying his accuser recanted and that a private investigator working for Patterson’s lawyer obtained a recorded confession. Patterson has not provided that recording. He told the Statesman he can’t remember the name of his lawyer and has no records from the case.

Patterson told Miller the disclosure of the two rape charges has been “devastating.” The Statesman obtained those records through public records requests in Florida and Ohio.

“There’s nothing in my life that prepared me for this and it’s just not right,” Patterson said. “I would like to say I have never been convicted of any crimes. I am, and have been proven, innocent. And as I said, I’m not going to allow myself to be put on trial in the media because I can’t win.”

Click here to read the Statesman’s reporting on Patterson and see copies of the court documents, police reports, letters and Patterson’s Nov. 10 statement.

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