Details are emerging about the 1993 incident that led Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith into a legal settlement with a woman he injured at a party.
Smith was 20 at the time. He and some people who claimed to have witnessed the incident say the woman believed Smith had tipped over the couch she was sleeping on, and flew at him in a rage. He says he was trying to get her to back off.
A police report and other documents released to the media shed new light on the incident. Published reports suggest Smith tried to visit the woman’s home twice recently, as the story was coming to light. The diversion agreement that Smith agreed to after injuring the woman required him to cover her medical bills, do 20 hours of community service, and avoid contact.
Smith said on OPB’s Think Out Loud Tuesday that the parties never intended those stipulations last forever.
“There was no agreement in which there was to be no contact. There was a six month period during which we had no contact. That six months was 19 years ago,” he said.
Tung Yin, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, says he thinks the most natural reading of the agreement would indicate no time limit on the no-contact order. But the terms of the settlement, he says, are ambiguous.
The woman’s attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.