Just days ago, Seth Brigham, Boulder's most annoying critic, celebrated his first visit to a Boulder City Council meeting since a judge tossed the city's restraining order against him by singing and dancing as irritated officials tried not to watch; see photos and video below. But this highpoint didn't last. His attorney says Brigham suffered a breakdown from the stress of fighting for his rights; he's decided not to sue Boulder and plans to move from the city.
As we've reported, Brigham was served with a restraining order after the city provided workplace-violence expert Dr. John Nicoletti with copies of e-mails accusing Boulder City Councilwoman KC Becker of financial impropriety, as well as information involving verbal jousting, F-bombs and occasional jabs and pushes involving other councilmembers. Brigham responded by contacting attorney David Lane, who'd represented him two years earlier after he was arrested for stripping to his boxer shorts at a council meeting -- an incident that led to Boulder paying a $10,000 settlement.
In the end, Judge David Archuleta ruled against the city's efforts to make the temporary restraining order permanent, and this week, Lane sent Boulder a letter giving the city until noon today to express interest in settling the case or else face a threatened federal lawsuit on freedom of speech and abuse of process grounds.
According to Lane, Boulder subsequently announced that it had no interest in settling the case -- "so I told Seth, 'Let's gear it up.' But he said, 'I don't know if I have the strength for this. I want to move. I want to get out of Boulder.'"
When did Brigham suffer what Lane characterizes as a breakdown? "Who knows with Seth," he replies. "I'm not a doctor, and I didn't ask. But all that drama lasted for a long time, and he was under constant stress and pressure -- and Seth is a fragile guy."
This description might strike some as confirming Nicoletti's conclusion that Brigham's instability could turn violent, but Lane rejects that notion. "Being fragile and being dangerous are two different things," he says. "Mental illness does not mean you're dangerous, and Seth has no history of violence. He has no history of violence, but he's mentally ill."
Lane sympathizes with Brigham's reasons for dropping lawsuit plans, but he can't help but feel some regret. "I'm always in favor of holding governmental entities accountable. I would be delighted to represent Seth on a contingency basis, and I don't take contingency cases to get a percentage of zero. I believe he has a meritorious case, and I believe Boulder is getting off very easy. It's unfortunate that Seth is psychologically not wanting to proceed, and I think it's too bad Boulder is getting away with something."
We've reached out to Brigham, and when and if he gets back to us, we'll update this post. In the meantime, here's photos from his council appearance this week, plus the aforementioned video.
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More from our Follow That Story archive: "David Lane to Boulder: Settle Seth Brigham case or face federal lawsuit."