A lawsuit by Ed Murray’s former foster son says the city of Seattle gave Murray a platform as mayor to defame him over his claims that Murray sexually abused him as a youth.
Lawyers for Jeff Simpson filed the lawsuit against the city and Murray on Friday.
Jeff Simpson has accused Murray of raping him repeatedly when he was a teenager and living with Murray as a foster child in Portland in the 1980s.
The Seattle Times unearthed documents from then showing that state investigators believed Simpson’s claims and forwarded them to prosecutors, who declined to charge Murray because of a lack of evidence.
Murray last year mounted an aggressive public campaign to counter such claims by Simpson and three other men who accused him of sexual abuse.
When a fifth man – a cousin – accused Murray in September, he resigned.
Statements by Murray, his spokesman and his personal lawyer about Simpson and the other men are central to the lawsuit filed Friday.
The lawsuit says Murray used his position to “spread false and harmful information about Jeff Simpson in an effort to win reelection and extinguish these claims.”
The suit says Murray falsely accused Simpson of lying about the allegations for political reasons and falsely claimed that law enforcement officials had found the allegations to be untrue. The lawsuit says:
“On or about April 7, 2017, Mayor Murray’s spokesperson, Jeff Reading, issued the following public statement regarding Simpson and Anderson’s accusations that was published in the Seattle Times (and picked up by other media sources): ‘The two older accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing anti-gay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement authorities and the media.’ Murray’s lawyer, Robert Sulkin, further claimed in his statements to the media that Simpson’s claims had been completely debunked and found to be false by law enforcement.”
The city of Seattle aided Murray by allowing public resources to be used in disseminating Murray’s statements, the lawsuit says.
In an email to KUOW, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office said it would review the lawsuit. Simpson filed a claim against the city in February as a precursor to a lawsuit.
Lawyers for Simpson and Murray did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The city has already settled one claim stemming from the accusations against Murray. It paid Delvonn Heckard $150,000 in a settlement last December.
Heckard died in February of an apparent drug overdose.