Man busted in Beaver Creek wants Cheney subpoenaed
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado – The lawyer for a man who claims he was wrongfully arrested for comments he made to Dick Cheney about the Iraq War said the person who can clear up what happened that day is the vice president himself.
Denver attorney David Lane filed a motion in federal court Thursday asking for U.S. marshals to serve Cheney a subpoena so he can testify about what happened when Steve Howards told him his “policies in Iraq were disgusting.”
Howards has said he “lightly touched” the vice president on the arm after making the comment at a mall in Beaver Creek, where Cheney was attending a conference in June 2006.
Howards later sued the Secret Service agents who arrested him after accusing him of assaulting Cheney.
But a hazy picture of the incident remains, according to court documents, with the agents accusing each other of lying and trying to cover up what happened.
“Mr. Cheney is clearly the best eyewitness to the events in question,” Lane said in the motion to subpoena him.
Lane said he thought he has “a pretty good chance” of having his motion succeed.
Cheney’s spokeswoman, Megan Mitchell, said Thursday she was aware of the motion, but referred calls to the Department of Justice. Press officials there did not immediately return a call for comment after hours Thursday.
Lane said Cheney could have sat down for a deposition, but “instead he is fighting us tooth and nail every step of the way to avoid telling the truth about what happened.”
Howards, a 55-year-old environmental consultant, said in the 2006 lawsuit that his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure were violated.
Howards said he approached Cheney in a crowd in the resort town two hours west of Denver when he saw him shaking hands and posing for photos. He said he made the comment about the Iraq War and then left.
Howards alleges that Secret Service agent Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr. questioned him minutes later, “badgering” him about whether he touched or assaulted Cheney. Howards said Reichle handcuffed him and told him he would be charged with assault.
At the jail, Reichle told Eagle County deputies at the jail to issue Howards a summons on a state charge of harassment, according to the lawsuit. The district attorney later dismissed the charge.
Lane said in court documents “there is a shocking lack of consistency among the defendants and other bystander witnesses as to what occurred.”
For example, Lane said Reichle has accused Agents Daniel McLaughlin and Adam Daniels of lying under oath, trying to cover up the truth and filing false reports of the incident. In turn, McLaughlin and Daniels say Reichle asked them to lie and change their reports.
Even what Howards said to Cheney remains unclear, according to the court documents filed Thursday. The only thing everyone agrees on is that Howards “said something about Iraq,” the motion states.
Lane said Cheney could have helped clear the confusion.
“But because the vice president is so unconcerned about Mr. Howards’ cilvil rights claim, they are making us go through endless hoops,” Lane said. “We have no other option.”