Smith Releases Assault Diversion Agreement

Candidate admitted conduct "wrongful"; Woman needed stitches

Mayoral candidate Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) today released to WW a 1994 diversion agreement arising from an assault charge he faced after an off-campus party Smith attended while a University of Oregon student. (A copy of the settlement is here and here.)

As WW reported yesterday, Smith scuffled with a young woman who was reportedly drunk and angry at him because she thought he had tipped her off a couch. In his attempt to calm her, Smith said in a statement, "she was injured."

The misdemeanor charge was dropped after Smith reached an agreement with the city of Eugene and the victim, whom he declines to name.

The two-page diversion agreement dated March 2, 1994, contains seven conditions.

Among those are that "defendant [Smith] agrees that his conduct at the time alleged in the accusatory instrument on file herein was wrongful; however, this admission is not intended by any party to this agreement as an admission of criminal wrongdoing by the defendant and should not be construed as an admission that the defendant committed the offense charged herein."

Smith agreed to stay out of trouble for six months; pay court costs of $250; not have contact with the woman (whose name is blacked out of the copy of the agreement Smith released); complete 20 hours of community service; and pay her medical bills.

The section of the agreement relating to medical bills provides more information than Smith gave either yesterday in interviews or at a press conference he held downtown at Terry Schrunk Plaza. Specifically, the agreement reveals the woman went to a hospital emergency room and the injury she suffered in a scuffle with Smith required stitches.

Here's what the agreement says:

"Defendant shall reimburse [name redacted] for her medical expenses incurred herein within seven (7) days  of the time she presents copies of her medical bills to [Smith]; [named redacted] represents that her bills consist of an emergency room visit for suture removal with the cost of such treatment estimated in the range of $400 to $500."

In exchange, the woman "forever releases and discharges Jefferson Daniel Smith from any and all further claims."

Smith says the reason he settled rather than proceeding to trial was that going to trial "would have deflected energy from taking responsibility for my actions, which is what I wanted to do then and now."

Smith, in an email to WW today, also offered a clarification of his remarks at yesterday's press conference, which he began with a reference to "powerful forces" out to get him. 

"I do want to be clear that I want to take responsibility," Smith said in the email. " That I am not blaming her or anyone else. She was confused, and we were kids. I bear no ill will. I apologized then, I apologize now.

"In response to a question, I did offer the reality that there are powerful forces going after me. To be clear, they didn't cause my mistakes and sins. To the extent it clarifies, it all happened really fast, and it was nearly 20 years ago (and all the memories are 20 years ago). It is true that she was coming at me, I truly tried to hold her off, and then tried to push her away—at the same moment she was lunging toward me. My hand connected with her head as I was shoving her away. It really was an accident. And it's still a difficult memory. I'm doing my best to be candid about it."