There's dirty politics, and then there's the accusation that PubliCola leveled against Seattle's Best Geezer Jean Godden this morning. In the fifth item of a far-reaching news roundup, the wonky political site wrote the following: "Speaking of Godden, no confirmation of this yet, but we hear Godden and her campaign staff discussed doing a campaign mailer trashing one of her two leading opponents, Maurice Classen, for 'not really supporting victims of domestic violence.' Her evidence? Classen testified for mercy for his father, who murdered Classen's mom in an act of domestic violence."
Leave aside for a moment the fact that PubliCola published an unsubstantiated rumor (Godden campaign manager Carlo Davis tells The Daily Weekly that PubliCola never bothered to call him). Instead, consider how horrible this rumor would be if true.
Davis says it's "totally false." Longtime Godden consultant Cathy Allen says the same.
"Never happened," she says on the cell phone she answered mid-meeting. "Not true. Not true. Not true . . . If there's one thing I appreciate about Maurice it's that he's taken on this issue [domestic violence]."
Yet at least one person says Allen (pictured above) is the one not telling the truth. Speaking to The Daily Weekly on condition of anonymity, a source who runs in political circles (and one who insists they weren't also the source for PubliCola's rumor) says that during a recent conversation with Allen, she told them that the Godden campaign was holding on to the issue of Classen's father's murder like a trump card: something it might bring up later in the campaign, an incredibly odd political maneuver considering the circumstances.
At 2 a.m. on February 8, 2005, James Classen, Maurice's father, slipped into the home of Classen's mother, who had recently divorced him, and killed her. The murder itself was brutal. Classen's father took a pair of sewing scissors and stabbed his ex-wife over 100 times, mostly in the face. Jurors heard of how she had been attacked while asleep, and how the attack didn't end even as she begged for her life.
At trial, Classen and his brother testified to their father's long history of depression and a previous suicide attempt. In an effort to get their father's charge reduced from first- to second-degree murder, they also spoke of how he'd been in a manic state at the time of the killing, which wouldn't have allowed for planning. Despite his son's pleas, Classen's father was found guilty of the more serious charge and ordered to spend 23 years and four months in prison, effectively a life sentence for the then 60-year-old former dentist.
How these details could be made to fit into a narrative that Classen, a King County deputy prosecutor, is somehow soft on domestic violence is difficult to comprehend. It's also beyond the pale.