Journalist Steve Dunkelberger:
Good story, in general. But I have two serious questions:
(1) You wrote: "Critics contend Schafer exposed Anderson in retaliation for the Pierce County Superior Court judge's having ruled against him in an unrelated family court case. Some go so far as to suggest he was making good on an "or-else" threat he'd made to Anderson prior to the ruling and use the term "blackmail" to describe the tactic."
Wow! This is the first time that I've heard anybody claim anything about any "or-else threat" or any "blackmail." Your publication of such a preposterous tale lends credence to it, even though the facts are that no ruling by Anderson against me even existed, as I informed you and as I have documented on my website. It seems to me that you should have informed me of such outrageous accusations and afforded me an opportunity to respond to them before publishing them -- particularly since you kindly extend anonymity to the source of such slanderous accusations. Since you printed the source's accusations, it seems to me that you ought to be willing to identify that source to me. Please respond with the source's identity.
In 2000 when former judge Anderson's defense lawyer, Kurt Bulmer, claimed to Los Angeles Times journalist Barry Siegel that Schafer was retaliating for Anderson having ruled against him, Seigel insisted that Bulmer produce a copy of the alleged ruling or transcript of any such hearing. Siegel told me later that the papers that Bulmer produced simply failed to support his claim. So, Siegel did not even mention -- gave no ink whatsoever to -- Bulmer's unsupported wild claim in Siegel's 4,000-word story that graced the cover of the L.A. Times on June 10, 2000.
As you know, I offered you documentation to supported everything that I said to you. It seems to me that journalistic ethics should require that you insist upon seeing some credible documentation before you even publish anonymous accusations that I had threatened or was blackmailing a judge. If somebody claims that you molest children, should a journalist print that without requiring any corroborating evidence whatsoever of its truth and without identifying the source?
Please ask your anomymous source to provide you some credible evidence
to support his or her absurd claims, and permit me to view and explain
anything that may be provided. If your source is unable to substantiate
the claims, then please print a conspicuous correction to inform your
readers that you regret having printed the defamatory claims because your
anomymous source later was unable, upon your specific request, to provide
you any evidence whatsoever supporting them.
(2) You also wrote about me: "He also points out that he gathered an assortment of pertinent recorded deeds and other public records and interviewed a number of people before taking his evidence to the Attorney General's office in February 1996. He shared it as well with the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's office, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the FBI and the Washington State Bar Association, he says. None took any action, he says, until he went public with his allegation."
Your last sentence bothers me because I have never said such a thing. When you allowed me on May 2 to review your initial collections of notes or first draft for your article, I responded by e-mail on May 4 by striking-out your sentences asserting that I "went public" in order to prod officials to investigate, and I then wrote to you immediately following that stricken passage:
"[Steve, this repeats the fabricated false myth about my motives. I filed my declaration revealing Hamiltonís 1992 comments on April 26, 1996, as an appendix to an Appeals Court petition. I filed that petition seeking to reverse a retaliatory and patently lawless order removing me from my clientís cases that was entered in late March by Judge Donald Thompson, who took-over my clientís cases after Judge Anderson recused himself from them at my request on Feb. 2, 1996. When I appealed that order, I still was assuming that all the officials would be acting responsibly on the evidence I had given them about the obviously corrupt judge. Though I had received a turn-down letter of 2/12/96 from Asst. Attorney General Jeff Even, I later had spoken with Deputy AG David Walsh and was scheduled to meet with him on 5/1/96. I had observed little interest by the Prosecuting Attorneyís investigators, but I still thought that office would come to recognize the obvious corruption. The Commission on Judicial Conduct investigator appeared very motivated to investigate the matter. I assumed that the State Bar disciplinary office would recognize the obvious corruption once they began investigating, after releasing their hold due to the other investigations. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division agents had appeared interested in the case. The evidence appeared to me to be conclusive of Judge Andersonís extreme corruption, and of Hamiltonís complicity in that.Steve, can you offer me any explanation as to why you simply ignored my explanation and instead printed almost exactly what I informed you was misleading. I can't call your passage false or inaccurate, for it literally is true that no officials took any action (other than to close their investigations) until after I filed about 60 pages of inculpatory documents on April 26, 1996, as an appendix to my petition to the the Court of Appeals. But that attempt of mine to "go public" was simply ignored by absolutely everybody -- even though I faxed 15 of those 60 pages to the TNT, SeaP-I, and SeaTimes. The Commission on Judicial Conduct, acting on its own time schedule, "took action" in August 1997, filing charges against Anderson.
It is often said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people eventually will believe that it is true. It seems to me that responsible journalists should try to avoid simply repeating lies, particularly when they are shown to be lies. Thanks for, hopefully, taking the time to consider and respond to this message.
Doug Schafer, lawyers suspended for exposing too much of a corrupt judge.