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June 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Prosecutor: No criminal charges against Aaron Reardon

The Island County Prosecutor’s Office will not file criminal charges against Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, citing insufficient evidence.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks wrote in a news release:

“I considered the crimes of (1) misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer, (2) theft – the unlawful or deceptive taking of county property with intent to deprive the county of such property, and (3) official misconduct. In each case, the evidence that would have been available to us at trial was insufficient to justify bringing formal criminal charges. Washington statutes establish the evidentiary standard for filing a criminal case. Our law says that charges should be filed if “the admissible evidence is of such convincing force as to make it probable that” a jury would be convinced of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, considering “the most plausible defenses that could be raised.” Here, the evidence did not rise to that level. ”

Banks said he did not consider possible non-criminal violations of campaign finance and public disclosure laws.

Banks had been reviewing the findings of a State Patrol investigation, launched at the request of the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office over allegations that Reardon misused public funds. A woman, Tamara Dutton, has claimed she had a six-year affair with the married Reardon and estimated he spent at least $1,500 of taxpayer money on her when she accompanied him on official trips.

Reardon has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

The State Patrol did not make a recommendation about whether charges should be filed when it turned over its findings to Banks  in early May. State Patrol investigators did not interview Reardon during the probe and said one of his top advisers refused to cooperate with the investigation.

When news of the investigation broke, Reardon called it a political attack. He has not denied an affair with Dutton, a county employee he has known since high school.

Dutton has produced records that back up her claims, and a second woman has said she also had a sexual relationship with Reardon. Records released as part of the investigation showed the executive made personal and campaign calls on his taxpayer-paid phone and raised money for his campaign while his official calendar said he was in staff meetings.

John Wolfe, Reardon’s attorney, issued the following statement following Banks’ decision:

“The allegations against Mr. Reardon were contrived and appear motivated by politics. The decision by Mr. Banks will surely disappoint Mr. Reardon’s political adversaries as well as several members of the media. The residents of Snohomish County, however, will certainly recognize that the prosecutor’s decision represents a triumph for the rule of law over what appears to have been a thinly disguised and improper effort by Mr. Reardon’s political adversaries to undermine the electoral will of the people.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Aaron Reardon, Snohomish County

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