Just when you thought the anti-gay discrimination lawsuit against the DNC couldn't get any messier, it is.
On Friday Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff will publish a scathing editorial in which he says that lawyers for DNC chief of staff Leah Daughtery tried to intimidate Naff and the Blade's publisher Lynne Brown from continuing to cover the discrimination lawsuit by Donald Hitchcock. Hitchcock was fired from his job as the DNC's gay outreach person when his partner Paul Yandura publicly criticized the DNC for not doing more to fight state level anti-gay constitutional amendments.
Naff writes that he "got a taste of the Democratic wrath last month, after criticizing DNC Chair Howard Dean and his chief of staff, Leah Daughtry, in an editorial." Naff had written about what he called an insufficient Democratic response to comments against the equitable treatment of openly gay military members made by former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace.
According to Naff, Daughtry responded to the editorial by sending two lawyers to confront him and Blade publisher Lynne Brown, lodging what Naff calls "red-faced cursing and threatening of lawsuits." While the lawyers said they represented Daughtry and not the DNC, Naff writes that DNC officials have nonetheless "gloated behind the scenes" that the incident compelled the Blade to stop writing about the Hitchcock suit.
Charlie Kimmett, one of the lawyers representing Daughtry, told PageOneQ a different story;
Contacted by PageOneQ, attorney Charlie Kimmett, one of the two lawyers representing Daughtry at the meeting said "the meeting we attended was not at all contentious." Asked if there was cursing at the meeting by himself or his colleague Tom Connolly, as was claimed by Naff, Kimmett claimed there was "absolutely no cursing at the meeting."
Kimmett also claimed that the meeting with Naff and Brown had nothing to do with the lawsuit by Hitchcock and that he and Tom Connolly, the other lawyer present, were not representing the DNC.
Not one to be scared easily Naff says
Of course, to suggest that the Blade would abandon a story because a couple of angry lawyers made a scene in the lobby constitutes wishful thinking. One thing every journalist learns early on is that when people start yelling and making threats, that means you're onto something.