Portland Mayor Sam Adams has avoided criminal charges over his 2005 relationship with a much younger man. Monday, Oregon’s Attorney General announced evidence was insufficient to make a case. April Baer reports.
Attorney General John Kroger kept it brief, and to the point at Monday’s news conference.
The Kroger Report
John Kroger “We have determined there is insufficient evidence to charge Mayor Adams with a criminal offense.”
In short order, Kroger said there was no evidence to the rumor that Adams and Beau Breedlove traveled to Mexico together.
Investigators also said one kissing incident between Adams and Breedlove was not criminal contact, and they questioned the circumstances around a second, because Breedlove told the story different ways to different people.
The AG says Breedlove was not credible because he attempted to gain personally from his relationship with Adams. Investigators considered a prior theft conviction as yet another black mark against Breedlove.
Kroger was asked repeatedly about his decision-making in the case. One way to get both Breedlove and Adams on the record under oath would have been to convene a grand jury.
John Kroger “I thought for a number of reasons it probably wasn’t appropriate, in particular in the past, we have not convened grand juries where we didn’t think there was sufficient evidence that we were at least moving toward something that might be a criminal charge. This investigation already took five months to complete. In my estimation, it wouldn’t have added much to the investigation to have witnesses simply repeat their stories in front of a grand jury.”
Kroger also pointed out that Oregon law assigns no penalty for lying to a police officer.
Monday Adams said he looks forward to continuing work on economic and education issues. He also reiterated his apology to voters,
Sam Adams. "I lied, and I think I've learned my lesson. I think those lessons make me definitely a better person, and definitely a better person. I've made a mistake, I apologized for it. My apologies are sincere."
Beau Breedlove has yet to respond to Kroger's statements about his credibility. He has changed attorneys twice since his relationship with Adams came to light. Repeated emails asking for comment have gone unanswered.
Susan Smith thinks Kroger did the right thing. She’s a professor of Law at Willamette University, who teaches criminal enforcement.
Susan Smith “We call for a grand jury when we have a belief that there is probable cause. We don’t call for a grand jury just on the basis of some allegation.”
Smith says prosecutors can’t treat the grand jury process as an investigative tool.
Although this report effectively ends the legal inquiry into Adams' behavior, many questions are left unanswered in the political realm.
Several of Adams’ colleagues on Council declined to comment Monday, saying they’d yet to read the report.
Bob Ball, the Portland developer who first triggered the story back in 2007, issued a short written statement wishing the incident behind the city.
While Adams has avoided criminal prosecution, his political trials may not be over. A recall campaign is promising to gather signatures throughout the summer.