Fashion icon and persistent rash Tim Eyman pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor theft on March 7 in Thurston County Court, KOMO News reports.
Eyman, as if anyone could forget, was charged with stealing a $70 office chair from an Office Depot in Lacey in an incident that took place on February 13. In surveillance video first published by the Seattle Times, Eyman, wearing his signature long-sleeved T-shirt covered in political slogans, can be seen taking a seat in a black swivel chair in the entryway of the store, doing a few spins, and then getting up and pushing it out the door. He later went back into the store and bought some printers. An employee who helped him carry his stuff out to his car told the Seattle Times that Eyman was acting "wary," and asked him to leave the printers on the ground outside his truck instead of putting them inside the vehicle. You know, normal stuff.
As Rich noted last month, Eyman is being represented (pro bono) by one of his former fraternity brothers from Washington State University. In a sworn affidavit provided to media outlets, Eyman claims he totally didn't mean to steal the chair and this whole thing was just a biiiiig misunderstanding. He says he was in line to pay for the chair at Office Depot when he got a phone call from the Institute of Free Speech, which, he says, is offering to represent him in a lawsuit filed against by the state for allegedly enriching himself with money donated to his initiative claims.
"As we talked, I went through the process of paying (this weekend I checked it out—my cell phone records show our phone conversation started before and ended after the purchase)," Eyman wrote in his affidavit. "As I left the store, I thought all was paid for and was focused on the phenomenal news that I might finally have legal counsel the State couldn’t veto. I was ecstatic." And who could blame him? I know every time I get a bit of good news, the first thing I do is run out and commit a gross misdemeanor.
After Eyman plead not guilty on Thursday, a judge set a trial date for April 16 and told Eyman to stay away from Office Depot.
This whole thing is so embarrassing that we'd almost—almost—feel bad for Eyman if he hadn't turned the state's initiative system into his personal litter box. This includes his most recent initiative, which would impede the funding of mass transit because his car tabs went up. Before that, he sued the state legislature after it passed a bill that would make it slightly less impossible to prosecute police who kill unarmed civilians. There was also the time he filed an initiative to repeal a state measure that would have added sexual orientation to the list of groups you can't discriminate against in employment and housing. At the time (this was 2006), Eyman promised he was going to turn in the required signatures to get the initiative on the ballot and instead showed up at the Capitol dressed as Darth Vader and announced he didn't even know how many signatures he'd collected. (Hint: Not enough.) In all, Eyman has filed at least 20 initiatives. Of the 10 that qualified for the ballot and were approved by voters, six were eventually ruled unconstitutional. For a dude who hates taxes, it does seem a little ironic he built a career wasting state resources. But everyone needs a hobby, I guess?
Penalties for third-degree misdemeanor theft in Washington State include a $5,000 fine and maximum stay of 364 days in jail. While we already know Eyman has a taste for prison orange, one can only imagine how many initiatives he'll file given a year of time in prison.