Initiative promoter Tim Eyman takes a selfie photo before the start of a session of Thurston County Superior Court on Feb. 10 in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman takes a selfie photo before the start of a session of Thurston County Superior Court on Feb. 10 in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

No ruling yet on request for $2.8M in legal fees from Eyman

A judge continued a hearing after the ballot-measure promoter’s lawyer sought time to “truth test” the billings.

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County judge on Friday continued a hearing on Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request for $2.8 million in legal fees and costs related to his lawsuit against initiative promoter Tim Eyman.

Superior Court Judge James Dixon granted a request from Eyman’s attorney for more time to review thousands of billings contained in the state’s claim. The new date is April 16.

On Feb. 10, Ferguson won a resounding victory in his four-year legal pursuit of Eyman when Dixon hit the conservative activist with a $2.6 million fine for repeated violations of state law and imposed restrictions on his role in future ballot measure campaigns.

Dixon levied the penalty after finding Eyman illegally moved money between unrelated initiative campaigns in 2012, engineered a $308,000 kickback from a signature-gathering firm involved in those initiatives and failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions.

On March 11, the state filed a request to recoup the costs of the protracted investigation. It showed seven attorneys and staff spent 9,899.71 hours on the case. They billed at hourly rates ranging from $123 to $408, adding up to $2.8 million. Sheets with itemized billings for each person were filed.

During Friday’s hearing, Attorney Seth Goodstein, Eyman’s attorney, said it was going to take “quite a bit of time for us to truth test” whether any of the claims are tied to other state actions involving his client.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Newman opposed the continuance.

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