As I-976 loses early rounds in court, Tim Eyman lashes out at state legal team

On the day Initiative 976 was scheduled to take effect, sponsor and gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman again lashed out at the legal team defending it.

The office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, is tasked with defending the initiative in court.

But Eyman accuses state lawyers of "blatant sabotage."

Eyman invited cameras to the King County Courthouse Thursday as he filed a motion for outside counsel to be added to the defense team.

The voter-approved initiative lowers car tab fees and blows big holes in transportation budgets statewide.

A King County judge temporarily blocked it from taking effect as scheduled Dec. 5 and the state Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

"We have a team of some of the best attorneys in the state working to defend I-976 since it passed, that's our job," said Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell.

Eyman said Purcell should have asked for the case to be moved out of King County, even though judges routinely hear cases where the county is a party.

Eyman also criticizes the AG's office for writing the ballot title that was struck down, but Purcell said state lawyers used language directly from the initiative.

A hearing on Eyman's motion for outside counsel could be held next week.