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October 8, 2006
Sauce For The Goose

Earlier today, Mitch Berg wrote a post about a Star Tribune article on Republican Congressional candidate Alan Fine, who is competing for Martin Sabo's MN-05 seat against Keith Ellison. The Strib highlighted a years-old arrest of Fine for domestic abuse, one which later got expunged as the charges were withdrawn:

Minneapolis congressional candidate Alan Fine was charged with domestic violence in 1995 and nine years later had his record expunged, in a case in which he and his first ex-wife give different versions of the events that led to him ending up in the Hennepin County jail.

His wife at the time, Rebecca Wexler, dropped the abuse charge, and Fine succeeded in having the case removed from Hennepin County court and police records, according to documents recently obtained by the Star Tribune.

Fine, who is the Fifth District Republican candidate, said in a recent interview that he never struck Wexler.

He said he sought to have his records expunged because he was innocent.

This story sent Mitch and Power Line into a fine fury, and for good reason. Fine never got tried for the charges, let alone convicted, and the court expunged the record in a routine fashion. The Strib engages in a he-said-she-said that proves nothing, and his ex-wife fills the pages with allegations she never bothered to test in court. She claims that Fine intimidated her into withdrawing the charges, even though her father -- a Hennepin County judge -- supported her case.

That said, politics ain't beanbag, and Fine had to know that this would probably come out when he started campaigning for public office. These days, anything salacious in the past will get dug up by people who want to attack candidates on character rather than policy, and that happens in both parties; sauce for the goose, as they say. Especially since Minnesota Democrats Exposed exposed Ellison's own history of domestic abuse. The complaints involving Ellison came from 2005 and 2006, and will receive adjudication on October 23rd. We'll wait to see when the Strib gets around to reporting these accusations -- since MDE noted them almost exactly a month earlier.

Both men should have been presumed innocent in the absence of convictions, especially when considering the frequently irrational accusations that get tossed around during divorces and the end of sexual relationships. Neither has any real bearing on the qualifications of the candidates. What I find fascinating is that the Strib decided to report on years-old charges against the Republican that had been expunged by the court when it so far has pretended that the ongoing charges against the Democrat have been unworthy of comment.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 8, 2006 12:10 AM

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