Jealous campaign spokesman says attorney request was not intimidation

A Miner Detail reported yesterday that an attorney representing Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous on Friday sent an email to A Miner Detail Editor in Chief Ryan Miner, requesting that Miner remove a tweet from his personal Twitter account containing Jealous’ home address.

The tweet (below) references an anonymous tip that A Miner Detail received about a domestic disturbance that took place a few years ago at Jealous’ residence – 361 N. Shore Road in Pasadena.

The anonymous emailer wrote to A Miner Detail that “call logs could be obtained by making a FOIA request to the AAPD” (Anne Arundel County Police Department) for Jealous’ home address in the year 2014-2015.”

Jealous’ attorney, Adam Clark, an associate attorney of Utrecht, Kleinfeld, Fiori, Partners – a D.C.-based law firm that specializes in campaign and election law practice – on Friday emailed A Miner Detail Editor in Chief Ryan Miner requesting Miner “remove this tweet and refrain from publicizing Mr. Jealous’ home address out of respect for security considerations.” 

Clark also wrote that Jealous “has had death threats dating back almost two decades” and by publishing his personal address on Twitter, Miner is “unnecessarily heightening security risks for both Mr. Jealous and his family.”

A Miner Detail contacted Jealous campaign spokesman Kevin Harris yesterday via text message with the following request for comment:

Hi, Kevin,

Ryan Miner here from A Miner Detail.

I received an “urgent request” from an attorney claiming to represent Mr. Jealous to remove a tweet from my personal Twitter account in which I posted Jealous’ home address.

Is Mr. Jealous aware that his home address is found on Maryland’s state board of elections website?

Is Mr. Jealous attempting to intimidate a member of the press by using an attorney in an attempt to coerce me to remove a tweet?

Can Mr. Jealous explain the incident in the police records? What is his side of the story?

Will Mr. Jealous unseal his divorce records?

 Harris immediately responded to Miner’s text message, telling Miner that Jealous and his campaign did not attempt to intimidate Miner by having Jealous’ attorney contact Miner on Friday, requesting he remove a tweet containing Jealous’ home address.

No intimidation. Ben is a civil rights leader and former journalist himself, who has uncovered extensive corruption. He knows what intimidation actually looks like and that letter was far from it. Our only concerns are listed in the letter and we respectfully made a request.

Harris went on to characterize Jealous’ 2015 divorce with Lia Epperson as “amicable.”

With regards to his divorce, Ben had an amicable separation and currently enjoys raising his children jointly with their mother. No amount of baseless innuendo will change that.

Jealous’ campaign registered a gubernatorial candidate committee – Friends of Ben Jealous – with the Maryland State Board of Elections on May 19, 2017. At that time, Jealous willingly listed his home mailing address at 361 North Shore Road in Pasadena, Maryland.

Three of Jealous’ gubernatorial competitors – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah – listed a post office box when filing their campaign committees with the state’s Board of Elections, whereas Jim Shea, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and state Sen. Rich Madaleno listed their actual home addresses.

Like Kamenetz, Ross and Vignarajah, Jealous could have listed a post office box in place of his actual home address on his filing forms with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

In the same text message thread, A Miner Detail asked Jealous campaign spokesman Kevin Harris to explain why Jealous and/or his campaign solicited the services of an attorney to request that Miner remove a tweet containing Jealous’ home address when Jealous himself willingly listed his address last year on his campaign finance committee filing.

A Miner Detail wrote to Harris:

Your campaign solicited the services of an attorney to request I remove a tweet in which I list an address that is already made public by Mr. Jealous himself. Can you explain that?

Harris responded to A Miner Detail’s texted question, referring to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website as “obscure,” and further accused Miner of attempting to “spread innuendo.”

There is a difference between listing your address as required on an obscure government website, and someone needlessly posting that address on twitter in an attempt to spread innuendo.

A Miner Detail responded to Harris’ accusation:

An “obscure government website?”

It’s the Maryland State Board of Elections, which thousands of Marylanders, journalists, bloggers and constituents check and use every single day to research information on voting and to research candidates running for public office.

How do you qualify said website as “obscure?”

Mr. Jealous’ attorney lists “security considerations.” Does Mr. Jealous employ armed security guards or any security on the campaign trail? Objectively observing his race, I have witnessed him standing alone multiple times and usually surrounded by female staffers.

Is Mr. Jealous aware that instead of using a home address, he could have used a post office box?

Do the Jealous campaign and Mr. Jealous himself believe I am attempting to spread innuendo?

Harris refused to answer A Miner Detail’s questions and reverted back to his accusation that the Board of Elections’ website is “obscure,” texting Miner,

“Thousands in a state of millions? By your own definition that’s pretty obscure.”

A Miner Detail concluded the conversation at that time and thanked Harris.

Jealous is a first-time candidate for public office in Maryland. He is the former head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In September 2013, Jealous resigned from his NAACP post, citing “family reasons.” In announcing his resignation, Jealous claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family. Shortly after leaving his NAACP post, Jealous’ ex-wife, Lia Epperson, filed for divorce in early 2015.

According to court documents, Jealous’ divorce records are sealed.

Sources who are familiar with Jealous’ abrupt departure from the NAACP in 2013 told A Miner Detail on background that Jealous left the organization under a “cloud of suspicion.” Several of the same sources also told A Miner Detail on background that they are surprised that Jealous “has not faced down his own “Me Too moment” in his gubernatorial campaign.

One prominent Baltimore City Democrat who is well-connected in Maryland and in D.C. politics told A Miner Detail: “We’re just waiting for the Jealous story to drop. We all know what’s out there on Ben, and the stories continue to compound; it’s the biggest open secret in Washington. There has been talk of organizations pulling their endorsements of Jealous when the story does break.”

Jealous and his running mate, Susan W. Turnball, are one of eight Democratic teams vying for the Democratic nomination, hoping to take on popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the November general election.

Jealous faces off against Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, lawyer and former University System of Maryland Board of Regents chair Jim Shea, former Michelle Obama policy director Krishanti Vignarajah and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe.

Maryland’s primary is slated to be held on June 26.

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About Ryan
Ryan Miner is Editor in Chief, Founder and Publisher of AMinerDetail.com. Miner is the sole reporter and columnist at AMinerDetail.com, covering Maryland news, politics, business, education, national, state and local government. Miner is the host of A Miner Detail Podcast.

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