If you want to better understand the reasons a criminal case was not brought this week against Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, there is no better place to get your information than from the man who made the decision.
Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks on Wednesday released a clear, written explanation of his conclusion that insufficient evidence existed to charge Reardon. He’s spoken since with reporters, including The Herald’s Noah Haglund and 97.3 KIRO-FM’s Dori Monson.
Banks’ Thursday interview with Monson is worth a listen. The prosecutor outlined in greater detail the challenges he would have faced trying to prove that what Reardon apparently did constituted a criminal act under Washington law. He also made clear that “it sure appeared” Reardon had an affair with Tami Dutton, the county social worker who said public money was used when the pair hooked up at hotels and other locations for about six years.
There is plenty of evidence out there already that Reardon and Dutton are more than just old classmates from Mariner High School. The executive’s own county cellphone records show he spent at least 11 hours talking with her in 2011. About 80 percent of that time occurred during work hours. One call lasted more than two hours.
Not a crime, Banks said. The prosecutor also made it clear that he wasn’t condoning Reardon’s conduct, just examining it in light of the law.
Reardon is now under investigation by the state Public Disclosure Commission focusing on whether he repeatedly violated state campaign laws.