The far-left cabal that runs Seattle has demonstrated, yet again, its contempt for anything and anyone that tries to hold it accountable for its misdeeds. This time, it's flagrant disobedience to court orders.
The city of Seattle has been hit with sanctions by a federal judge for deleting thousands of text messages between officials, including the former mayor, police chief, and fire chief during the deadly three-week-long Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, also known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or what was termed the CHAZ or CHOP.
. . .
The destruction of the evidence was intentional and officials worked for months to hide the evidence, which included deleting texts, according to the judge. He wrote, “The Court finds substantial circumstantial evidence that the city acted with the requisite intent necessary to impose a severe sanction and that the city’s conduct exceeds gross negligence.”
The judge added that when the case goes to trial he will impose a “severe sanction” on the city and instruct the jury to presume the text messages were detrimental to the city’s case and that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence they were deleted intentionally.
Zilly wrote in the 39-page order, “City officials deleted thousands of text messages from their city-owned phones in complete disregard of their legal obligation to preserve relevant evidence. Further, the city significantly delayed disclosing … that thousands of text messages had been deleted” and could not be recovered or recovered.
He concluded, “As a result, substantial evidence has been destroyed by the city and is unavailable to plaintiffs to support their position in this litigation.”
. . .
Zilly wrote, “Although the city issued a significant number of litigation holds” that required the preservation of all evidence pertaining to the lawsuits that had been filed months earlier, “Officials at the highest levels of city government completely disregarded these holds and deleted thousands of relevant text messages.”
He stated in the order, “Instead, Mayor Durkan, Chief Best, Chief Scoggins, and other key city officials purged (through factory resets, changed retention settings, or manual deletions) thousands of CHOP-related text messages from their phones after they were under a clear legal obligation to preserve such information and without confirming that all of their text messages had been preserved through other means.”
There's more at the link.
Therefore, those businesses suing the Seattle city council for the disruption and financial losses caused to their businesses by the CHAZ/CHOP fiasco must now make their case without much of the evidence they need to prove it. That, of course, was probably the entire point of the mass deletion of messages.
I think the judge was absolutely correct to say that at the trial, he would "instruct the jury to presume the text messages were detrimental to the city’s case and that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence they were deleted intentionally". However, we're dealing with a Seattle jury. What are the odds that there won't be sufficient hard-progressive-left jurors that they'll ignore the judge's instructions and vote according to their political views?
I'm glad I'm not on trial for anything in Seattle. I'm far from sure I'd get a fair trial, or a just verdict and sentence.