At the end of the press conference that she and her colleague Tim Burgess held this afternoon on this morning’s court hearing, Council member Lorena Gonzalez took questions on the statement she issued yesterday related to the new evidence accusing Mayor Ed Murray of sexual abuse.
Gonzalez declined to give a specific definition of “moral turpitude,” one of the two reasons allowed in the City Charter for the City Council to remove the Mayor from office. Instead, she claimed that the law clearly defines it. Perhaps not so much… I could find no definition in the Washington state law, nor in Seattle Municipal Code. Here’s the State Department’s definition for use in immigration cases. Here’s a relevant 9th Circuit case from last month.
Gonzalez also noted that this situation is unprecedented in the history of Seattle city government, and so there is no protocol defined for the potential process moving forward. To that end, she wants to have a conversation with her fellow Council members and their legal team to lay out procedures so that they are clear on “what happens if another shoe drops.” That shoe could be the Mayor choosing to step down, or more information becoming unearthed that might lead the Council to pursue impeachment. Gonzalez wants to make sure the Council is ready for either.
Gonzalez would not commit as to whether those conversations would be in public session or in closed “executive session.” She said they are sorting out that issue now.