• Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's staff cancels press briefing as sex abuse allegation breaks

    By: Casey McNerthney

    Updated:

    A media briefing to announce an agreement to renovate KeyArena was cancelled as it was expected to begin Tuesday – minutes after The Seattle Times published allegations from Mayor Ed Murray’s cousin saying he also was sexually abused by Murray in the 1970s.

    Murray’s cousin is the fifth person to accuse the mayor of sexual abuse decades ago. The mayor denies all the accounts.

    Scroll down to read additional details.


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    Murray was expected to speak and take questions at the briefing outside KeyArena, which was scheduled for 11 a.m.

    At 11:03 a.m., the Seattle Times reporters who broke this story and the initial sex abuse lawsuit in April, Jim Brunner and Lewis Kamb, tweeted a link to their latest investigation. The Seattle Times account also tweeted the story, and shortly after had the story leading their website.

    At 11:10 a.m., the small gathering of reporters at KeyArena learned that people were told the press briefing was cancelled. Benton Strong and William Lemke, spokesmen for the mayor, told reporters the event is cancelled.

    “I’m sure you’re already checking your Twitter,” Strong told KIRO 7 reporter Rob Munoz. Strong did not elaborate. (Follow this link to read about the latest allegations against Murray.)

    Follow this link to read about the new KeyArena deal that is headed to the Seattle City Council.

    Murray was aware of the Times story before it was published. On Tuesday morning, he denied the allegation to the Seattle Times, saying that he lived with his cousin but did not abuse him.

    Murray told The Times there has been a rift in the family for years, and the accusation is untrue.

    “There’s been numerous fights between our two families for many years, and much ugliness,” Murray told The Times. “I guess they see me down and out, and they want to finish me off.”

    Murray previously said he would not resign, and reiterated that to The Times on Tuesday morning.

    Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez called for his resignation in July, as did Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

    After cautiously discussing impeachment at a July City Council meeting, Council President Bruce Harrell and council members Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez issued a statement after that meeting.

    They said that as the council may act as a court of impeachment, their powers are limited by the city charter. In the statement, the council wrote there’s “no proof that Murray has willfully violated his duties” as mayor, but they also noted that the “allegations of abuse must be taken seriously at all times.”

    Murray responded by sharing his own statement, maintaining that the allegations are false. He reiterated that he’s not resigning and wrote in a statement that his administration is governing effectively.

    Murray then sent a second letter to Gonzalez on Friday that proposed a joint “mayor-council transition coordination committee” to execute a plan for a “smooth transition of power to the next mayor.” Gonzalez agreed to the committee, as she announced through yet another statement on Monday, and she believes the council should still prepare contingency plans in the event of a voluntary and involuntary vacancy of the mayor.

    Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan, who received Murray’s endorsement, called for Murray to step down on Tuesday.

    "I previously urged the Mayor to reflect deeply about whether he could continue to lead and what was in the best interests of the city," Durkan said in her written statement, sent by her staff at 12:46 p.m. "It's clear that it is in everyone’s best interest for him to resign.  As a parent, former public official and openly gay woman these allegations are beyond sad and tragic; no official is above the law. "

    Durkan's opponent in the mayoral race, Cary Moon, planned a 1 p.m. “public statement in support of sexual abuse victims and respond to latest allegations against Seattle’s Mayor.”

    Information from previous KIRO 7 articles are included in this report.

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