The choice between Dirk Sandefur and Kristen Juras for the Montana Supreme Court race couldn’t be an easier one: Dirk Sandefur is well-qualified. He’s a 3-term State District Judge in one of Montana’s busiest and most populous districts –and before that he was a prosecutor (and before that he was a police officer.) He’s got decades of experience that Kristen Juras just does not have. He’s been endorsed by 50 Montana judges, she zero.
Since Juras can’t run on experience, enter the same dark money group set up to flood the last three Supreme Court elections with misinformation and deceit. Let’s fact check ’em.
Cowgirl blog frequent flyer Jake Eaton is listed as treasurer for a new group he’s labeled “Set Em Free Sandefur” and has launched a Willy Horton-style attack ad of the lowest order.
If you’re new here, you need to know that Jake Eaton is the former Executive Director of the Montana Republican Party–the one who was forced to resign over the scandal to make it more difficult for 6,000 Montanans to vote. Eaton has also worked for Rehberg and the national Republican party.
These days he’s got a corporate lobbyist firm. In fact, Eaton’s firm was the one Jason Priest and Ed Walker used to do the dirty work of the dark money group they set up to buy the last Supreme Court race for TEA Partier Laurie McKinnon. Eaton tried the same stunt again in the Wheat, VanDyke race last election cycle, but failed. This bunch has a plot to orchestrate a right-wing takeover of the supreme court. We know this because the plot was uncovered in 2013 after Jason Priest, Art Wittich, Jeff Essmann and other TEA Partiers were caught emailing each other about it and their emails were leaked to the press during the 2013 legislative session.
This time the dark money machine’s bald face lies are intended to get you to think Dirk Sandefur, who has been a judge for many years, is somehow soft on crime–a claim that makes my job even easier than fact checking Donald Trump. Here you can find broad selection of just a few of cases Judge Sandefur has been involved in where he imposed significant sentences. See for yourself. He is anything but a lenient judge. Presumably this is to distract us from the fact that Juras has never been a judge and hasn’t set foot in a courtroom in decades.
The ad refers to three court cases that Eaton isn’t telling the truth about – not even close.
First. Eaton references Sandefur’s supposed “refusal” to give prison time two criminals he says are “child prornographers.” This statement includes two falsehoods. First, Sandefur didn’t refuse anything -it was prosecutors who made plea agreements that recommended prison time. Second, a pornographer is someone who makes porn, these criminals possessed downloaded porn. This is abhorrent – it just doesn’t mean true that they made the porn. Source.
In both the second and third cases, Eaton tries the same trick – he entirely omits that it was state prosecutors who both reduced the original charges and recommended a seven year rape sentence in accordance with the prosecutors’ plea agreement. Sources here and here.
It is interesting to note that Jake Eaton is married to Emily Jones who threatened to sue Rep. Jessica Karjala (D-Billings) recently on behalf of GOP candidate Robert Saunders, because she had told voters about his writings. (He’s the Billings affluenza candidate.)