Saturday, October 07, 2006

 

Oh, My

One of the many efforts made by the Minnesota Republican Party to slime Keith Ellison was a bogus assault accusation that was rightly laughed off by the cops called in to investigate it. Well, now legitimate, actual evidence of domestic violence, and of a hamfisted Denny-Hastert-style cover-up attempt, has burst like a bombshell onto the Ellison-Fine race -- except that the perpetrator is none other than Alan Fine himself:

Minneapolis congressional candidate Alan Fine was charged with domestic violence in 1995 and nine years later had his record expunged, in a case in which he and his first ex-wife give different versions of the events that led to him ending up in the Hennepin County jail. His wife at the time, Rebecca Wexler, dropped the abuse charge, and Fine succeeded in having the case removed from Hennepin County court and police records, according to documents recently obtained by the Star Tribune. Fine, who is the Fifth District Republican candidate, said in a recent interview that he never struck Wexler. He said he sought to have his records expunged because he was innocent. Wexler said Thursday that she agreed to drop the charges two to three weeks after the arrest only because Fine pressured her and because he promised to work out their problems in marriage counseling. The couple divorced the following year.
So what exactly was Fine accused of doing?
In the interview and in court documents, Fine accused his ex-wife and her father, Hennepin County Judge Thomas Wexler, of conspiring in 1995 to stage a domestic incident and get him arrested for assault in order to make him "look bad" before he filed for divorce. "They wanted to have leverage in the divorce," Fine said. "I'm speculating here. I don't have proof." Fine stated in an affidavit connected with the divorce proceedings that his then-wife "admitted to me, in the presence of another person, that she had made a mistake in having me arrested and that her allegations were untrue." Fine was asked repeatedly by reporters to identify who that other person was. He said he could not remember. Thomas Wexler, who has been on the court bench for 16 years, said he and his daughter did not try to stage the incident. "As a matter of fact, Rebecca had been reporting to me that Alan had been hitting her prior" to the incident, Thomas Wexler said. He said that his wife had advised their daughter to call the police if another incident took place and that his daughter heeded the advice. Fine was arrested by Minneapolis police and booked into the county jail for fifth-degree assault on June 2, 1995, according to the sealed police report obtained by the Star Tribune. Fine was shown the report and did not dispute its authenticity. The report states that officers arrested Fine in his home at 3907 Zenith Av. S. after his then-wife told them that Fine had assaulted her. Police noted in the report that Fine had scratches on his face and chest. He was released from jail after several hours. [...] According to Rebecca Wexler's divorce affidavit, the alleged assaults started in late 1993 when she was two months pregnant. "In the middle of an argument, [Fine] suddenly slapped me across the face with sufficient force to knock me to the ground," she stated in her affidavit. The matter came to a head on June 2, 1995. Wexler said in an interview that she was changing her son's diaper and that Fine slapped her across the face after she asked for help. She said in the affidavit that he "took a few steps away, then turned around and said, 'Wait, let me get the other side,' and slapped me on the side of my face." When he returned to the house that evening, she said she ordered him to leave. When he slapped her again, she said, she called police and Fine was arrested. In his interview, Fine at first said he couldn't remember details of what happened. Then later, he said Rebecca Wexler broke into a "rage" and scratched and hit him. "I came back from work and Rebecca called the police and I ended up in jail," he said. Thomas Wexler said Fine had admitted to him that he hit his daughter, according to a 1995 affidavit he signed in connection with the couple's divorce. But Alan Fine said Wednesday, "I never admitted anything to him," referring to the judge. "I never would. I never did anything like that. He's just lying. He's trying to protect his daughter." Asked why he waited until 2004 to have the record expunged, Fine said, "I don't know. I just got around to it and did it," he said.
Of course, 2004 is when the Minnesota GOP started grooming Fine for a high-profile political career. And how did he manage to skate?
Rebecca Wexler said in an interview that Fine and his brother Bob Fine, an attorney, spoke to her about the charges after the arrest. "Bob Fine got on the phone with me and basically told me what to do in order to get Alan out of the mess he was in," she said. "I was also receiving calls from the prosecutor trying to get me to testify against Alan. And at the same time, I was trying to save my marriage. Within days after I told the prosecutor that I was not going to cooperate in pressing charges against Alan, Alan filed for divorce." Bob Fine, a Minneapolis Park Board member, said he couldn't remember details and even if he could, he wouldn't be able to discuss them. "If I disclose anything, I'm violating attorney-client privilege, and I'm on bad enough terms with him anyway," Bob Fine said, referring to his brother.
His first ex-wife isn't the only woman Fine's been battering, erm, battling. He has issues with other women as well. Check this out:
Minneapolis police records show there have been five 911 calls labeled as "domestic" dating from 1995 to April 2005 involving Alan Fine's address. Information about a September 1995 call is no longer available. In 1996, Fine called police to have them stand by while he picked up his son, the log shows. In 2001, Fine called 911 during an argument with an ex-girlfriend outside his home. In 2003, Fine called from his home, saying his son was abused at his ex-wife's suburban home and was advised by Minneapolis authorities to call local police where she resided. In 2005, Rebecca Wexler called, stating that she was not being allowed to see her son at Fine's residence.
My favorite part of the whole irony-tinged article:
After state Rep. Keith Ellison won the DFL nomination, Fine launched a persistent attack on his character, focusing on his past ties to the Nation of Islam. Fine has repeatedly said "character matters."
Yes, yes it does, Mr. Fine. Especially to the suburban soccer moms and evangelical voters who are already horrified at the Republicans' decade-long efforts to protect sex predator Mark Foley. I'm almost bummed that this came to light. Now that it has, even the not-so-bright people running the Minnesota Republican Party will realize that they can't waste any more money on this hypocritical jerk. They'll probably dump it into Bachmann's or Pawlenty's campaigns instead.


Comments:
Republican Playbook, Chapter VII, Section A, paragraph 3.c : "If you are guilty of some wrong, accuse your opponent of the same thing."

The chaper title is: Smears: Voters are not very smart and will generally take any unsubstantiated accusation as grounds for suspicion.
 
And paragraph 3.d states: "If 3.c proves unworkable, begin doubting the credibility of the wronged person. Example: "Foley victims were playing a prank on him. Fine's ex-wife wasn't actually hurt by the battering."
 
You got it, Anonymous!

And when all else fails, blame it on George Soros. Or start shouting that Michael Moore is fat. (Of course, not even Denny Hastert dares try that, as Lunch-Buffet Denny's globular bod makes Michael Moore's physique look like Lindsay Lohan's in comparison.)
 
PW,

It looks like the 'Pugs have their own home-grown circular firing squad in your neck of the woods, just like the one they've created at the national level.

Anyone want some popcorn?
 
LM, the popcorn truck is unloading its cargo, even as we speak. :-)

I should start calling the GOP "the Bell and Howell Party", because they've got the world's best projectors.
 
Ayup,

I sometimes think that perhaps the RNC headquarters should be converted into a multi-plex theater complex since there's so much projection going on in that building anyway.
 
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