Recall efforts against Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant can move forward, judge rules

A judge ruled Wednesday that recall efforts against controversial Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant can move forward. 

In his ruling, King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers found that four of the six accusations levied against Sawant in the recall petition represent "substantial conduct clearly amounting to misfeasance, malfeasance, or a violation of the oath of office" for which there is "no legal justification."

RELATED: Seattle City Council votes to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Kshama Sawant's legal fees connected to recall

He said the following accusations are justification for the recall effort: 

-Sawant relinquished her duties of office to an outside political organization
-Misused city resources on a ballot initiative
-Misused her position by letting protesters into City Hall
-Led a protest to the mayor's house despite her address being protected by a state program due to threats stemming from her time as a U.S. Attorney. 

In a written decision, Rogers explained his decision. 

"The allegations, supported by a basis of knowledge, are that the Councilmember and fellow organizers knew the Mayor's address, knew it was confidential, and led the protestors right to the Mayor's home," Rogers wrote.

The ruling came after attorneys for both sides made arguments Wednesday morning.

John McKay, representing the recall petitioners, said Sawant acted maliciously when she allowed hundreds of protesters into City Hall after hours with her key pass.

Dmitri Iglitzin, Sawant's attorney, said the argument lacked proof of any violation.

"They have not shown you there is a city council ordinance that prevents Sawant from bringing people into City Hall," Iglitzin said.

Iglitzin called the recall a political shot.

"We are not arguing or disagreeing with her political views or affiliation," McKay said.

McKay said it was holding Sawant accountable for breaking the law.

As for allegations that Sawant used city resources on her 'Tax Amazon' campaign, Rogers found the details of her office spending $2,000 on the ballot initiative to be substantial.

"These are actual resources being spent to promote an initiative, which is prohibited by law," Rogers wrote. 

 Now, the group of six residents leading the recall must get roughly 11,000 valid signatures before the recall will get on the ballot. 

The treasurer of the movement telling Q13 News that the grassroots initiative is confident they can collect the needed signatures. The group has raised nearly $50,000 in over a month.

"It's definitely not funded by any big business, no Amazon, no large corporations, it is purely the citizens," Henry Bridger II said.

Bridger, a long time Capitol Hill resident, says many are growing frustrated.

"This is not a way to protest to get the message across, I think the people who live here are finally tired of it," Bridger II said.

The group also accused Sawant of encouraging protesters to occupy Seattle PD's East Precinct and also encouraged the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, or CHOP. The judge dismissed those charges. 

Sawant's team said they will appeal the decision with help from attorneys from the city. 

"We should not be surprised laws and courts and police under capitalism do not serve working people," Sawant said.

Sawant calling the movement against her a right wing attack.

"They're made to hold us down, hold up the status quo of inequality, violence, racism, sexism," Sawant said.

Bridger II says Sawant's narrative is far from the truth.

"I'm a liberal, I am actually a Democrat, she is to the extreme I would liken her to the left's version of Trump," Bridger II said.

See Sawant's reaction below: