Coloradans for Responsible Reform has tons of money to fight tax-cutting amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, not to mention some heavy hitters in its corner; for instance, its spokesman, Dan Hopkins, used to do the same job for Governor Bill Owens. So what's one of its key strategies? To tie Douglas Bruce, who a judge believes has some involvement with the measures, to Ward Churchill and the Balloon Boy.
How? Via attorney David Lane, who's defending Bruce in regard to a contempt charge, and who previously represented Balloon Boy dad Richard Heene and Churchill, who appealed the University of Colorado's decision not to reinstate him as a CU professor in February.
No mention, though, of Lane's work on behalf of Tim Masters, wrongfully convicted of murder, for whom Lane has won millions of dollars in restitution.
An e-mail blast from Coloradans for Responsible Reform last week began like so:
Question: What do Douglas Bruce, Ward Churchill and the Balloon Boy's father have in common?
Answer: Probably not political philosophies. Apparently, they all have the same high-priced defense attorney.
After that, the note featured a link to a Denver Post article about Lane taking Bruce's case. He's being charged with contempt of court for hiding information about his alleged ties to 60, 61 and 101 despite being subpoenaed to provide it. Also included: a link to a "Don't Hurt Colorado" petition and page where users can put in a request to speakers opposed to the proposals.
What's Lane got to say about all this? He begins a conversation this morning by saying he doesn't even know what 60, 61 and 101 are -- although he assumes they're "anti-tax measures." He adds, "I do represent Doug Bruce in the contempt proceeding, but it's not about whether he's sponsoring, not sponsoring, pushing or not pushing any ballot initiatives."
As for the connection between Bruce, Churchill and Heene, he says, "The common thread is that each of them has various constitutional issues that have landed them in court, and I, being a lawyer who deals with constitutional issues, happen to be representing all three of them.
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"The Balloon Boy case was a criminal case, and this is a quasi-criminal case. Doug Bruce could end up in jail if he's ultimately held in contempt, so his freedom is at stake. So the government is using its power to try to incarcerate my clients, or [regarding Churchill], trying to terminate them from their professor position. And this is consistent with what I do. My job is to make sure the government is doing its job properly, and if they haven't been doing their job properly, they lose the case."
Is Bruce being singled out for prosecution due to his high profile and reputation? "I can't say definitively that's what's happening," Lane concedes. "This is one of these either-you're-pregnant-or-you're-not cases. Either he was appropriately served with a summons to appear before a grand jury or he wasn't. But I'm still in the process of digesting discovery."
And he wants more time. A hearing in the matter was originally slated for Wednesday, but Lane requested a delay. As a result, the proceeding was rescheduled for August 25. Lane, though, has a conflict: "I have a death penalty hearing on the 25th," he says. With that in mind, "we subsequently filed a motion to kick it even further."
Bruce, of course, is renowned for a kick of his own: Back in 2008, he allegedly kicked a Rocky Mountain News photographer during a morning prayer at the state capitol. Seems likely that he and Lane will be totally compatible.