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Peeking Behind The Curtain Of Ed Murray's Final Months At Seattle City Hall

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks at a news conference as his husband, Michael Shiosaki, right, stands nearby at City Hall Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Seattle.

It's been five months since former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned after a fifth person accused him of sexual abuse decades ago. Murray has denied all of the allegations.

A new investigation from The Seattle Times offers a glimpse behind the scenes as the scandal unfolded between April and September last year. 

Reporters Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner compiled texts and emails from those within City Hall and others close to Murray to paint a picture of how the embattled mayor tried to save his career.

Brunner sat down with KNKX Morning Edition Host Kirsten Kendrick to talk about their reporting.

Interview Highlights

On a 2015 message from one of Murray's accusers:

"He wrote on a web portal form where you might – most constituents would use that form to report a pothole or something. He used it to say, 'Hey Ed, remember me? I'm one of the kids you molested.' And this, of course, sent shockwaves up through the mayor's office. And in the end, they didn't really respond to him, and he didn't actually sort of demand a response. But it was sort of a warning sign of the scandal that was always lurking just below the surface."

On using records to paint a picture:

"One of the great things about public records and documents and communications that are happening in real time, I think, is that they are honest in a way that, maybe, if you go an interview somebody about what was going on, you're going to get some spin and maybe even misremembering. So I just think it really peels back the curtain on what's going on."

On divisions among city leaders:

"For example [City Councilmember] Lorena Gonazlez – who used to work for Ed Murray in his office –publicly tried to call for his resignation, and was pretty soundly shut down by her colleagues, including Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, [who] said she was 'grandstanding' in a text. I just think it's really interesting how people in power in Seattle sought to deal with the scandal: in some cases, hope that it would just go away; in some cases, strategize how to defend Ed Murray; and in one case of a close confidant, of course, try move in the other direction and say, 'Look, I've been with this guy for a long time, but really he should not be mayor anymore."

You can find a link to the Seattle Times story above. It will also appear in the Sunday edition of the Times.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.