Trial set in lawsuit against Secret Service over Beaver Creek incident
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” A jury trial is scheduled to begin May 4 in the case of a Denver-area man who is suing the Secret Service for being arrested in Beaver Creek, Colorado after he made comments to Vice President Dick Cheney about the Iraq war.
According to documents filed Tuesday, the trial will be held in the Denver courtroom of U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello and is expected to last five days.
The plaintiff, Steven Howards, says he approached Cheney on June 16, 2006, while the vice president was shaking hands and posing for photographs at an outdoor mall in Beaver Creek.
Howards says he told Cheney his policies in Iraq were “disgusting,” lightly placed his hand on the vice president’s shoulder, then left.
Minutes later, Howards was questioned by Secret Service agents, arrested and told he would be charged with assault.
However, Howards was never charged with assault, and the Eagle County district attorney later dismissed a harassment charge against him. Howards claims the arrest violated his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fourth Amendment protection from illegal search and seizure.
Howards has filed an appeal of a federal magistrate judge’s denial of his motion to subpoena Cheney in the lawsuit, saying the vice president has firsthand knowledge of the June 2006 incident.
Separate documents filed Tuesday listed Cheney as a “may call” witness in the case.
Howards’ attorney, David Lane, did not immediately return a call to his office seeking comment Tuesday evening.