Eyman continues to attack state AG’s office amid I-976 legal fight

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SEATTLE - On Thursday, when a $30 car tab measure was intended to take effect across the state, Tim Eyman came out swinging once again at Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“We’ve had blatant sabotage of the case from the beginning,” Eyman said.

Eyman says Ferguson should have tried to move the case out of King County because the county is a plaintiff in the case trying to block Initiative 976.

“He did not even make a motion to get this thing out of King County ... there are 39 other counties that were not parties to this case,” Eyman said.

Yesterday, the state Supreme Court upheld an injunction against I-976 first issued by King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson. Judge Ferguson ordered the injunction due to issues he had with how the ballot initiative was written, something Eyman is also blaming Ferguson for.

Eyman also says a King County judge is not appropriate for this case.

“His salary is paid by King County, it’s just this inherent conflict. Any future law student would know that,” Eyman said.

Solicitor General Noah Purcell with the Attorney General’s Office says Eyman’s arguments are legally flawed.

“All the superior court judges are state officers, half their salary comes from the state so the main argument he was making that he works for one of the plaintiffs also work for the defendant. He works for the state,” Purcell said.

Purcell doesn’t have a problem with filing a motion to intervene, but he does have a big problem with Eyman making accusations of sabotage.

“I am offended that he is attacking people in our office who have worked so hard, and they are professional, truly. They have spent time away from their families on Thanksgiving, working to the middle of the night, and he’s on TV criticizing them. I am pretty offended,” Purcell says.

Purcell got a little emotional during Thursday’s interview, saying his team has worked more than 500 hours over the last three weeks coming up with a strong case.

But Eyman isn’t backing down.

“Basic things any real lawyer would have done this Attorney General didn’t,” Eyman said.

One of those basic things Eyman says Ferguson neglected to do was to file a motion to reconsider after Judge Marshall Ferguson issued the injunction. He says that motion would have allowed their side to offer more arguments and strengthen the case.

Eyman says by skipping that step, the case got cemented as is and sent up to the state Supreme Court without better arguments.

The AG’s Office says their case was strong to begin with and they decided not to file a motion to reconsider because they were trying to expedite the case. Purcell says they were hoping the state Supreme Court would rule in favor of $30 car tabs, allowing it to go into effect on Thursday as intended.

Purcell also made it clear that they are not defending Eyman’s initiative but the voters of Washington, and he says they take that job seriously.

Although the injunction is in order for now on I-976, the legal fight over the issue will continue.

Eyman’s motion to intervene is also set to be heard on Dec. 13.

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