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Trio Ousted From Bush Gathering Plans to Sue

The antiwar activists were thrown out of a town hall meeting in Denver by a volunteer.

April 23, 2005|From Times Wire Services

DENVER — A lawyer for three people removed from a town hall meeting with President Bush -- allegedly because of a "No More Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on their car -- said Friday he was seeking the identity of the man who escorted the activists out, and planned to sue.

"We want to know who this person is ... because we're going to sue," said Dan Recht, a lawyer representing activists Alex Young, Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise.

The three belong to the organization Denver Progressives. The day after the president's March 21 town hall meeting, the three were told by officials that they were singled out because they belong to the "No Blood for Oil" antiwar group. They believe the statement was a reference to their bumper sticker.

The White House has said the man who escorted the three out of the event was a volunteer, and that he probably feared they would disrupt the meeting.

Recht said the Secret Service was investigating whether the Republican volunteer committed the federal crime of impersonating a federal agent while forcibly removing the three.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to divulge the volunteer's name or whether he worked in Colorado or Washington. "If someone is coming to an event to disrupt it, they are going to be asked to leave," he said.

Recht said he had filed Freedom of Information Act requests to nine groups, including the White House and the Secret Service, to try to determine who the man was. So far, he has received no information.

The Secret Service knows the man's name, a source said, and has interviewed him. Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin refused to comment.

This is not the first time the White House has faced scrutiny for ousting critics from Bush appearances or trying to stack the audiences with Republicans.

In Fargo, N.D., this year, a newspaper reported more than 40 residents were put on a list of people who should not be let in the door. The White House blamed the incident on an overzealous volunteer.

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