When you’re in litigation, you really have to pick one set of facts to work with. Radley Balko pointed out the other day that Manassas Park is trying to use two contradictory sets of “facts”, in two separate legal efforts, but still maintaining that people should trust that they’re telling the truth. Well, which “truth” are we supposed to believe here?
Here’s what I think is happening: I think the city has two sets of facts that it draws upon, depending on its audience and forum. Never mind that the two sets are often contradictory. If the city is attempting to paint David Ruttenberg as a drug fiend, for example, city officials helpfully note that Ruttenberg has over the years been the subject of numerous drug investigations (never mind that they’ve yet to find any evidence to back up these accusations). But if the city is defending accusations that the city was framing Ruttenberg or conspiring against him because it had designs on the property his business occupied, city officials deny they’ve ever subjected Ruttenberg to such set-ups or stings, and instead try to portray Ruttenberg as some sort of paranoid conspiracy theorist.
Another example: When the city was trying to convince city council members, ABC officers, or the town’s planning commission that Ruttenberg was operating a filthy bar, they showed them photos of naked and nude women allegedly snapped at Rack ‘n’ Roll, or at least mentioned the existence of such photos. But when refuting the charge that city officials are corrupt and conniving, the city denies said photos exist, in order to hide the fact that they were staged and taken by the city’s former vice mayor.
For years the Manassas Park government has been denying that the operation which brought drug dealers from Dumfries to Manassas Park in order to conduct drug buys with undercover police officers (note the police involvement on both sides of these transactions?) never happened. Then they suddenly admit that they did happen in a separate legal matter. Days afterwards, Dean Crowhurst is still trying to deny to the Planning Commission that he’s seen any evidence that the operation occurred.
Schizophrenia is a poor legal strategy. Let’s hope it fails.
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