Charges, countercharges in Brown case dismissed

A pair of related lawsuits concerning the residency of Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown were dismissed on Wednesday, but the plaintiff against Brown indicated that he may continue to pursue the matter.

Bainbridge Island resident James M. Olsen filed an action challenging Brown’s voter registration on January 9, but withdrew the complaint immediately before a meeting of the Kitsap County Canvassing Board on February 12. At that time, Olsen announced his intention to file criminal charges against Brown.

Immediately after the hearing Brown’s attorney John D. Morgan and Democratic Party member James Sommerhauser filed perjury charges against Olsen, claiming that Olsen never had any evidence against Brown. Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge then referred the case to Pierce County to avoid a conflict of interest.

Pierce County Chief Criminal Deputy Gerald T. Costello dismissed the charges in letters to both parties, saying there was no evidence that Brown committed any crime and that a decision to prosecute Olsen would be “retaliatory, vindictive and politically motivated.”

Sommerhauser said the two decisions represented “a legal wash.” Olsen, on the other hand, said he would consult his attorney to determine his options but indicated that he would probably take the case to the next level.

“I don’t think that Mr. Costello got it right,” Olsen said. “He didn’t dig deep enough.”

Olsen said he would probably take the advice of his attorney as to whether or not to pursue the matter “as much as I would listen to anybody.”

Sommerhauser said that he called Brown with the news on Friday, and that the commissioner “sounded relieved’ when he heard that the case was dismissed.

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