JZ Knight is desperately trying to suppress videos that show her making bizarre, bigoted statements in order to protect the politicians she supports and allow them to continue deceiving the public.
On Friday, Knight filed a suit against the Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based think and action tank, for submitting a DVD of her controversial statements to the Thurston County commissioners.
“State law protects citizens from any liability for submitting information to a government agency,” said Trent England, a Freedom Foundation attorney. “And federal courts have protected disclosures exactly like this, where an important public issue was at stake. In this case, the issue is politicians accepting guaranteed support from a bigot and then both parties lying about it.”
When the videos first surfaced two years ago, several political candidates and the Washington State Democratic Party were forced to repudiate Knight and give away contributions she had made to their campaigns.
One, Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, described Knight’s videotaped statements as “vile, racist and divisive…. (T)hese hateful comments are the complete opposite of everything I stand for. I denounce them. I condemn them.”
(Still online is video of Knight’s previous endorsement of Romero.)
Knight, who claims she is able to “channel” the spirit of a 35,000-year-old warrior named Ramtha, operates the Ramtha School of Enlightenment from a sprawling compound in Yelm.
Despite the still-simmering controversy, earlier this year the Thurston County Democratic Party, a group that supports Romero and over which she has considerable influence, voted unanimously to accept another $65,000 contribution from Knight.
Thurston Democrat County Chairman Roger Erskine later defended Knight as “a very good, strong Democrat.”
Romero, meanwhile, has reversed her earlier position, now saying of Knight, “I don’t believe she’s a bigot.”
Knight, Romero and other public figures also claimed the videos had been altered in some way to make them appear more damaging.
To disprove to these allegations, the Freedom Foundation submitted DVDs of the relevant clips lifted from the longer video to the Thurston County commissioners.
“When it comes to sheer, unadorned racism, Donald Sterling can’t hold a candle to JZ Knight,” England said, “and I think government is more important even than the NBA.
“The Freedom Foundation released clips of the JZ Knight videos to give officials and the public the truth,” he said. “Knight wants to hide the truth, but I trust the federal courts will see through her frivolous claims.”
A preliminary hearing on Knight’s request for a temporary restraining order to keep the videos secret is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma.