Republican Gay Mayor Meets Karma

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  • LoungeMachine
    • Jul 2004
    • 32576

    Republican Gay Mayor Meets Karma

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Judge releases Mayor West's gay-themed computer data


    RITZVILLE -- A judge on Thursday granted a newspaper's request to make public the gay-themed contents of Spokane Mayor James West's city-owned laptop computer, but prevented the release of 3,300 pictures from a gay-oriented Web site.

    Adams County Superior Court Judge Richard Miller ordered the release of an index of the dates and times West used the computer to access and other similar Web sites, but with individual Web addresses redacted to protect the privacy of third parties.

    West is the subject of a Dec. 6 recall election because of a sex scandal involving gay men, and several news organizations have demanded the release of the contents of West's computer under the state's Open Public Records Act.

    "Clearly the public has the right to evaluate the mayor's performance," Miller said. "The dilemma this court finds itself in is: to release the pictures essentially releases the identity of the people in them. I don't think that's appropriate."

    The judge reviewed the contents of the mayor's hard drive. He said he found 3,300 photographs. About 100 of those were pictures of male genitalia or buttocks, and 11 were of simulated sex acts, the judge said.

    Many showed upper-torso pictures of shirtless men, the judge said.

    There was no text with the photos, he said.

    The recall election charge alleges West abused his office by offering a City Hall internship, in expectation of sexual favors, to a person he met in a chat room and believed to be an 18-year-old man. The chat partner was actually a computer expert hired by The Spokesman-Review to track West's online activities.

    West has denied any wrongdoing.

    The judge's decision came a day before the special election ballots were to be mailed.

    West fought release of the computer contents in question, contending they were private and that the Internet sites were accessed during off-work hours.

    The Spokesman-Review, The Associated Press and several other media organizations had filed requests to view the contents of the hard drive.
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