Guest Column: State Rep. accused of domestic terrorism asks for due process
Last updated 1/16/2020 at 10:05am
Under our Constitution, anyone accused of a crime has right to see all the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and to call witnesses in their defense.
I have been falsely accused of being a “domestic terrorist” by a private investigator who never spoke to the principals involved in the incidents she described and relied instead on anonymous sources. Based solely on this investigator’s dossier, the Speaker of the House said I “engaged in an act of domestic terrorism.”
This is a lie.
The Speaker also said she forwarded the dossier to the FBI and the US Attorney’s office.
I have heard nothing from either office in the month since she did so. In fact, the only contact I have had with the FBI I am deeply grateful for -- this past year agents contacted me to warn me of threats against me and my family as a result of these continued politically motivated attacks.
If the Speaker actually believes what she says, that I am a “domestic terrorist,” she should respect the ability and proper role of prosecutors and federal law enforcement to make a charging determination. Elected officials who casually accuse others of crimes without waiting for prosecutors to charge (much less juries convict), all with an eye towards overturning the results of elections they disagree with, are an ugly and corrosive feature of our modern political landscape.
The only member of the House in Washington State to ever be expelled was after they had been afforded due process and convicted of a crime.
You don’t have to agree with my political views to believe that anyone accused of a crime has a right to see all the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and to call witnesses in their defense. These rights are guaranteed by our Constitution.
Any action by the Legislature based solely on the dossier and without affording me those basic rights undermines the very pillars of our Republic.
I look forward to continuing to represent the people of my district. I do so with a renewed sense of the importance of our Constitution’s protections for the powerless against the vindictiveness of the powerful.
State Rep. Matt Shea represents the Spokane Valley area as part of Washington’s 4th Legislative District.