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Assault case dogs Smith


Police report on 1993 assault released

Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith is once again defending his actions regarding allegations of a 1993 assault on a woman at an off-campus party while he was a student at the University of Oregon.

On Tuesday, the Eugene police incident report from the Oct. 17, 1993 incident was released to KOIN by the woman’s attorney, John Bassett, who said his client has no desire for publicity. KOIN chose not to disclose her name.

The report reveals new details from the woman’s side of the story. She claimed to police that Smith had been making advances to her the whole evening, which she rebuffed. She told the responding officer, “He really popped me in the left eye with his closed fist.”

However, the police report confirms Smith’s claim that he was acting in self-defense after she started attacking him. The same police report notes a “witness confirmed Smith’s version of events,” and the responding officer wrote that the witness accounts were all similar to Smith’s account of the story.

“I recognize that our memories are profoundly different, but I’d ask that you not just listen to me, or even just to her, but to the at least four or five other people that were there,” Smith told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

At a news conference Oct. 1, Smith gave reporters vague details of the incident from 1993, but the police report states Jefferson admitted he grabbed her arms to prevent her from striking him, and when he let go of her, he tagged her, striking her with his fist.

Smith said Tuesday that he failed to mention details of the incident because he did not want to drag people into the spotlight who had no intention of being in the public eye. According to the court documents, on the night of the alleged assault, Smith told officers, “I didn’t mean to hurt injure her, just to stop her.”

Smith said he signed a diversion agreement after the assault, in which he agreed to pay for the woman’s medical care and have no contact with her for six months. In exchange, no charges would be filed. Although the woman alleges she met Smith prior to the incident, Smith claims he does not remember meeting her. He said he hopes voters can concentrate on the issues and not what happened at a party 20 years ago.

Smith’s campaign gave KOIN a copy of a note Smith recently placed on the front door of the woman’s home. It reads:

“It’s of course my hope that events of 20 years ago wouldn’t be a focus, in meaningful part because I knew that it might mean you and others being in the public spotlight even if you didn’t want to be there.”

Smith’s campaign manager, Henry Kraemer, said he released the note in an attempt to show that Smith was not trying to contact the woman to intimidate her, rather to let he know he had no intention of revealing her identity.