Time to Lawyer Up, Libby

We told you about this yesterday (and we were the first to report it, by the way) about Republican Libby Szabo’s problems with her direct mail — one of which rises to the level of a Class 5 Felony.

Well, according to a release from the Colorado Democratic Party, it looks like Szabo is going to need a lawyer:

A criminal complaint was filed with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office today against Republican State House District 27 candidate Libby Szabo. The complaint was filed by unaffiliated voter Julie Callahan, a resident of District 27, who had decided “enough was enough.”…

…Callahan’s complaint cites Szabo’s two violations of Colorado’s criminal statutes in separate political mailings sent to voters of HD-27: false and reckless statements relating to a candidate and illegal use of the official seal of the State of Colorado.

In one negative mailing, Szabo falsely claims that Sara Gagliardi’s campaign is under investigation by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. The Jefferson County DA’s office has confirmed that no such complaint exists, which establishes in law that Szabo has knowingly and recklessly made false statements about Sara Gagliardi. In a second negative mailing, criticized in the press for including a photo of a Hepatitis C victim that Rep. Gagliardi sought justice for, Szabo illegally uses the state seal.

We wouldn’t expect the first complaint to get very far — there have been plenty of cases in the past of candidates putting out false information in mailings or advertisements, but local district attorney’s hardly ever pursue them (both because of the time and resources that would be involved, and because they don’t want to wade into a partisan fight).

But the second complaint is pretty much a cut-and-dried case. It is a Class 5 Felony to use the state seal of Colorado without consent. There’s no question her campaign used the seal in its mailings; if they didn’t have consent, then there’s not much else they can do besides starting a conversation about a plea deal.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. droll says:

    having a complaint filed is a big damn deal.  She’s clearly guilty already.  Everyone should call the DA immediately.

  2. DenLawyer says:

    I am not a criminal lawyer, nor do I practice in the areas of election law or state seal law.  However, given the volume of violent criminal cases, financial fraud cases, etc. a DA’s office has to handle, I would not let my palms get too sweaty thinking the DA is going to jump right on this one.  It just is not going to be high on anyone’s list of priorities in my opinion.

  3. JO says:

    I can barely type, I’m quivering so with outrage.

    Not prosecuting a rape case is one thing. But using the State Seal in a political campaign? My God in Heaven! Go to the head of Class 5 forthwith and notwithstanding!

    I’ve heard lots of issues raised in this campaign and on this site. Important issues. But using the State Seal in a political campaign? This takes the cake (chocolate layer) by a country mile (5,280 ft. plus however longer it takes to get there).

    I assume the State Police have been sent to the scene. Put the guilty party in cuffs. Hauled her to Maximum Security to await sentencing.

    Is there still time to move to the district so I can vote against her?

    • JO says:

      Sources tell us that Libby used the State Seal to finish wrapping campaign literature in Saran Wrap!

      Have these people no shame?

      Stop Press! Remake the Front!

    • RedGreen says:

      to hear the “pretext” call.

      Citizen: “So, you know, when you had your graphic designer put the State Seal on that last mailer, were you –”

      Szabo: “I know, I’m really sorry about that, what was I thinking? Must’ve been two drinks into Friday already!”

      Citizen: “It really made me feel uncomfortable. I just –”

      Szabo: “Wait, are you taping this? KKKRRRKKKKK I’m going through a tunnel, I’ll have to –” CLICK

  4. Ryan.Parsell says:

    Once again Colorado Pols loses credibility by convicting a Republican in the media before checking the facts.  I can’t believe a credible news organization would say such things as, “This is a cut-and-dried case” or “There’s no question her campaign used the seal.”  Check the facts next time before you rush to trash a Republican.  If you look at the mailer (that’s right the one you posted with the story) and compare the insignia in it to the definition of the Colorado seal in CRS 24-80-901 you will clearly see they are not the same.  For example the phrases “State of Colorado” and “Nil Sine Numine” are required on the state seal yet neither appear on the insignia in the mailer.  In addition, the secretary of state has determined the official seal is 2 Вј inches in diameter (not the same size in Szabo’s mailing.)  These are some differences to name a few.   By the way, in case you missed it, CRS 24-80-902 makes it a felony for any person to illegally use the state seal.  There is no criminal penalty to use an insignia that is not the state seal.  Apologize and get it right the next time.  

    • Jack Burden says:

      This isn’t a “news site.”

      It’s a blog. It’s credibility comes from the fact that people like you visit it. So thanks for all the hard work!

      • mcranston says:

        They shouldn’t do it an expect others to fact-check their accusations afterwards.  If pols is the leading political site in the state (and therefore dispenses news) they have a moral obligation to provide the most accurate information.  Unless pols doesn’t care about its credibility….

        So in short, hiding behind the “we’re not a news site” bit is misdirecting from the point that pols was dead wrong.

        They owe Libby and readers an apology on the same scale as the accusation.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Pols should have stuck to highlighting what a piece of shit this Republican candidate is to use photos of Governor Ritter signing a piece of legislation to help victims to attack her opponent.  Republicans are ugly assholes who lie with impunity so don’t even bring up the law and whether it should be applied.

  5. B4D says:

    Bernie Buescher also used the state seal in campaign materials illegally.


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