Initiative promoter Tim Eyman talks to reporters Oct. 15 at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman talks to reporters Oct. 15 at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Eyman trial halted; family member of AG staffer falls ill

The Thurston County judge ordered a pause until Monday out of abundance of caution.

OLYMPIA —A Thurston County Superior Court judge halted Tim Eyman’s civil trial Wednesday after a state attorney informed the court that a family member of one member of its legal team had taken ill.

Judge James Dixon recessed the trial until Monday. The restart could be pushed past Monday if lawyers and witnesses are not available, he said.

Wednesday was supposed to be the third day of testimony in a state lawsuit that accuses Eyman of secretly moving campaign funds between initiatives, getting a $308,000 kickback from a signature-gathering firm and failing to report as political contributions hundreds of thousands of dollars received from friends and supporters.

A half-hour before the scheduled start, Assistant Attorney General Eric Newman emailed the court that one of the trial team’s staff had a family member at home exhibiting cold symptoms, including a fever. That staff member had been in court Monday and Tuesday.

Dixon said he consulted with the court’s presiding judge and administrator and “the three of us all came to the same conclusions individually and collectively” to pause the trial and wait for additional information.

“Out of an abundance of caution this court believes it is the right thing to do,” Dixon said.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office said the staff member “is not exhibiting any symptoms, nor are any other members of the trial team. In an abundance of caution, we informed the court before the trial resumed today, and the court opted to postpone pending COVID-19 testing. If the test result comes back negative, we hope to resume Monday morning.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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