- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2001

The Democratic mayor of Chesapeake, Va., has been charged with assaulting a congressional aide of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, during a political rally last month. The mayor was not charged until Friday, when a local magistrate issued a summons for his arrest.
Police said Mayor William Ward, 67, struck Charles Faulkner, 26, in the face June 16, during a scuffle at a campaign stop by state Sen. L. Louise Lucas, who at the time was the Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat.
Mr. Faulkner was campaigning for Mrs. Lucas' opponent, Republican J. Randy Forbes, at the time. Mr. Faulkner, who waited until last week to file an official complaint, said he did not touch anyone during the encounter. Mr. Forbes won the special election on June 19.
The mayor is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 13. The charge against him is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Mr. Ward has served on the Chesapeake City Council since 1978 and has been mayor since 1990. His term expires June 30, 2004.
Both Mr. Ward and Mr. Faulkner declined to comment on the incident over the weekend. Mr. Ward, however, released a statement Friday, stating that he looks forward to telling his side of the story in court.
"I regret that Mr. Faulkner has elected to escalate our disagreement," Mr. Ward said in the statement. "Because Mr. Faulkner has decided to pursue this in court, I will not debate the facts with Mr. Faulkner in the press."
According to the statement, Mr. Ward said Mr. Faulkner was part of a group of people — some of whom were wielding sledgehammers — who were seen removing Mrs. Lucas' campaign signs outside the Chesapeake Conference Center.
"I am disappointed that my efforts to stop their illegal behavior have resulted in this retaliation," Mr. Ward said.
Mr. Ward's statement also included remarks attributed to Jack Young, former general counsel to the Democratic Party of Virginia and an attorney involved in the Florida presidentialrecount.
"Tom DeLay sent his staff to Florida last December to organize efforts to intimidate public officials there, and it is sad to see that he is allowing his staff to engage in these thug-like tactics in Virginia six months later," the statement said.
In cases involving misdemeanor assault charges, the person filing the complaint must appear before a magistrate and swear that his allegations are true. If a magistrate believes there is probable cause, a warrant is issued. The individual accused of the allegations is then notified and must respond in person. The accused would typically be issued a summons and told to appear in court on a specific date.
In an interview last week with the Virginian-Pilot, Mr. Faulkner said he did not take immediate legal action because he did not want it to have any effect on the outcome of the Forbes-Lucas race.

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