AG Suthers targets Bruce for contempt; Bruce rails against courts, media

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers filed a motion in Denver District Court on Friday indicating he would attempt to hold anti-tax crusader Doug Bruce in contempt of court. Suthers is also seeking attorneys’ fees and other costs from Bruce for openly dodging requests to appear in court this spring on a case looking into three controversial tax-slashing measures that will appear on the ballot this November.

Bruce ducked 30 attempts to serve him with a subpoena, playing a cat and mouse game with the state that was widely reported in the media. Bruce sent a five-page email to Suthers at the end of last week complaining he had not been notified of proceedings against him.

Bruce’s email was included in Suthers’ motion, along with other documents, including an email exchange between Bruce and a legal assistant for Denver attorney Mark Grueskin, who is representing a group of businesses and government groups that oppose the ballot initiatives.

In the March exchange, the Grueskin assistant reminded Bruce that he was scheduled to be deposed. The deposition was to take place in Colorado Springs, where Bruce lives.

“Received,” Bruce answered the message. “I will not attend. Thank you for the email.”

The contempt motion filed Friday by Suthers outlines how Bruce failed to appear at the disposition to explain his involvement in the initiatives– known now as amendment 60,61, and 101.

Bruce has claimed that he was out of town in Pennsylvania during the period that sheriff’s deputies and other process servers made 30 attempts to serve a subpoena compelling him to explain his role in the three measures.

In the email response included in the attorney general’s motion, Bruce accused Suthers of colluding with Denver District Judge Brian Whitney, the judge hearing the campaign finance complaint on the initiatives and who sought to depose Bruce.

“I have a right to attend my own lynching,” Bruce said. “No matter how much you hate the three tax-limiting petitions that are on the November ballot, no matter how much you despise me personally or TABOR generally, that anger does not excuse your acts of political revenge on me.”

He accused Suthers of attempting to try the case in the media.

Spokesman for the attorney general’s office Mike Saccone cautioned against Bruce’s heated rhetoric.

“Basically, [the email] is Mr. Bruce complaining about being treated and held to the same standard as every other citizen,” Saccone told the Colorado Independent.

In the email Bruce accused Judge Whitney of prejudice and asked that the judge be removed from the case. Bruce also seemed to challenge Suthers to seek his arrest.

“If you obtain a warrant for my arrest, I am notifying you that I will appear voluntary in court at anytime,” Bruce wrote, “There is no need for a ‘perp walk’ parading me in handcuffs, or to allow your friends in the media to take pictures of me in an orange jumpsuit.”

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