Mayor Murray’s accuser withdraws sexual abuse lawsuit
Delvonn Heckard, the man who accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of paying him for sex when he was 15, has withdrawn his lawsuit.
Heckard submitted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on Tuesday afternoon.
Heckard says he will refile early next year, according to the motion filed with the court.
Murray was poised to run for a second term but dropped his bid last month. He has vehemently denied the claims against him.
"I believe the withdrawal of this lawsuit vindicates me,” he said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
But Lincoln Beauregard, an attorney for Heckard, told KUOW that the lawsuit would be refiled after Murray is out of office. He said that would give the legal team time to regroup.
And Beauregard said Heckard now “feels like he’s been heard, knowing that the public has clearly told the mayor that he shouldn’t run for reelection. So with that, we see it as ‘mission accomplished’ as the primary goal.”
But at the news conference, Murray said don't count him out just yet.
"This political effort to end my public career may look like it succeeded, but today I can say to those that were behind this, you were not successful,” the mayor said.
Murray could not get back onto the ballot for mayor now. But asked whether he would consider a write-in candidacy, he said: "I'm going to consider my options."
Three other men accused Murray of sexual abuse in the 1980s, when Murray was in his 20s and 30s.
The Seattle Times broke the news of the lawsuit's dismissal this morning.
According to court records, Heckard wants to complete drug treatment and his "extensive counseling."
"Additionally, Mr. Heckard determined that it would be better for the success of his lawsuit, and the citizens of the City of Seattle, for this matter to proceed at a later point in time after Mayor Murray is no longer sitting in power."
Attorneys write that Heckard believes the mayor benefits from defending his case from his perch in the mayor's office.
The attorneys say the mayor, his former campaign team and his legal team, have "successfully tainted the jury pool with false information about the accusers, including Mr. Heckard."
Murray and his legal team have been harshly criticized for the way they described the accusers. Murray addressed the issue Wednesday.
"To any of the victims of sexual abuse who were hurt by my initial response to this story I am deeply sorry," he said. "Victims of sexual abuse must be heard."
But he was sharply critical of Beauregard and Heckard's other lawyer, Julie Kays, as well as of the press coverage.
"A publicity-hungry lawyer with special connections to certain members of the press should not be driving this case or who the next mayor of Seattle is," Murray said.
"The thing with being a plaintiff's attorneys is you're generally not always going to be liked," Beauregard said.
He said his only regret in the case was posing for a controversial photo with jail inmate Maurice Jones, one of the men who alleged he was sexually abused by Murray. "If I could do that one over, I'd probably do it differently," Beauregard said. But he added that because of that photo, "no one questioned the authenticity of any of those statements."
Kays previously worked as a senior deputy prosecutor for King County. Now both Kays and Beauregard are attorneys with the Connelly Law Offices.
Beauregard and Kays are also pursuing a series of discrimination claims against the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Kays said their role is to unearth information about public figures, as they have in various cases against public agencies in Washington.
“And if that results in someone not running for office, or getting booted out of office, then so be it," she said.
Tweets from Beauregard on Wednesday: