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Polis could make history with Colorado gubernatorial bid

Gay candidate on Trump, LGBT rights, Masterpiece Cakeshop case



Equality Act, gay news, Washington Blade

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is running for governor of Colorado. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

If Jared Polis wins the race for governor of Colorado, he would become the first openly gay person to win a gubernatorial race in the United States — but breaking through the pink ceiling isn’t a distinction that’s a priority for his campaign.

During an interview with the Washington Blade last week, the five-term member of the U.S. House identified renewable energy and education as marquee issues for his candidacy, downplaying the significance of achieving a potential first.

“I think it shows that my state of Colorado and the country is ready to select the best person to move our state forward and not pick somebody based on who they love, but rather based on what they can do for the state and how they can make the economy work for everybody,” Polis said.

Other politicians have paved the way for Polis to become the first openly gay person elected governor. In 2004, then-New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy declared he was gay after he was elected and shortly before he resigned amid scandal in which he was having an affair with a male staffer. Last year, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who’s bisexual and married to a man, earned the distinction of becoming the first openly LGBT person elected governor after her appointment to the role following the resignation of her predecessor.

But no one who has identifies as openly gay has won a governor’s race.

Polis, the first gay parent in Congress, could face competition for that place in history. In Maryland, State Sen. Rich Madaleno has declared his bid to challenge Gov. Larry Hogan in the 2018 elections. In Connecticut, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo has launched an exploratory committee to determine whether to pursue a gubernatorial campaign.

Polis has to best a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic primary before the general election in 2018.

Meanwhile, he’s focusing on the future of the state that he’s served for 10 years in Congress since the beginning of the Obama administration and for one last term in the U.S. House.

“People are focused more on my 100 percent renewable energy goal, my efforts to improve the schools and my experience in public education showing that I can do it and my plan to help make our economy work for everybody,” Polis said.

Read the full interview between the Blade and Polis here:

Washington Blade: Why are you running for governor of Colorado at this time?

Jared Polis: I think our state needs a bold leader to take us into the future, and I’ve represented a new generation of leadership for our state with a vision for where our state needs to go in terms of reaching 100 percent renewable energy, establishing universal preschool and kindergarten and creating an economy that works for everybody — not just investors and CEOs.

And I don’t see much progress on any of those issues coming from Washington in the age of Trump, and it’s time to go home and make our state a shining example of what the future looks like for America.

Blade: But, of course, your candidacy represents something a little bit different because if you are elected, you could be the first openly gay person elected as governor in the United States. What do you think the significance of that would be?

Polis: Well, we certainly have examples, as you know, like Kate Brown and Jim McGreevey, but I guess I would be the first — how did you phrase it?

Blade: The first openly gay person elected governor in the United States.

Polis: Yeah, I guess that’s right. Well, you know, I think it shows that my state of Colorado and the country is ready to select the best person to move our state forward and not pick somebody based on who they love, but rather based on what they can do for the state and how they can make the economy work for everybody.

Blade: Colorado has seen a lot of advancements on LGBT rights thanks to the courts and a non-discrimination law. Assuming that stays in place, which we’ll talk about later, how would you further advance LGBT rights as governor of Colorado?

Polis: Well, I would say that my state and my hometown is the birthplace of same-sex marriage the very same year I was born, 1975. The town I was born in, Boulder, Colo., had the first same-sex marriages in the entire country. Our then-Clerk Clela Rorex married several couples within months of when I was born until she was stopped by the state.

Now 42 years later, Clela Rorex is back in Boulder County and supporting my efforts to become governor and it’s exciting to see the progress that we’ve made across the country on equality issues.

Blade: One issue I thought you might mention is the legislation that would ban widely discredited conversion therapy for youth. That has moved through the legislature, but it hasn’t quite made it to passage.

Polis: Right. It has not yet passed in Colorado. Absolutely. So, there certainly remains work to be done. Many other states have already passed similar laws.

Blade: And that’s something that you would support?

Polis: Yes. I think our current governor does as well. It hasn’t been able to pass the legislature yet, the bill that would prevent parents from forcing their kids into conversion therapy. That’s unfortunately still legal in Colorado.

Blade: Let’s talk a little bit about the Supreme Court because just this week it decided to take up a case in which a Colorado baker is challenging the state’s non-discrimination law on the basis that they feel like they should be able to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Why do you think the Supreme Court decided to take up this case and how do you predict they will rule?

Polis: Well, first I’m glad that the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the lower court that public businesses cannot discriminate and I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will swiftly agree.

Blade: Can you talk a little bit more about why it’s important to have the non-discrimination law in Colorado in effect for the purposes of public accommodations and wedding services?

Polis: Any business that is open to the public shouldn’t discriminate, and I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree with the Colorado Supreme Court and the lower courts who have all found that our inclusive non-discrimination statute protects people from discrimination in a business that presents itself in a form of public accommodation.

Blade: To what extent do you think the case before the Supreme Court is going to animate the gubernatorial campaign — either in the primary or general election?

Polis: I haven’t heard much about it, Chris, in Colorado. I think it’s being followed more nationally, but I have not heard much about it from my constituents.

People are more focused on my 100 percent renewable energy goal, my efforts to improve the schools and my experience in public education showing that I can do it and my plan to help make our economy work for everybody, so I have a very specific plan in each of those areas — both a bold progressive vision for our state as well as the proven results in my private and public sector work to turn ideas into reality.

Blade: What’s your assessment of the Trump administration and the way it’s handled LGBT rights?

Polis: Well, I think it’s been a very mediocre to poor record so far. There’s been symbolic missteps like failing to issue a Pride proclamation, which should have been a routine feel-good moment for the Trump administration to lend support. And, of course, we continue to be worried with their efforts that could be underway to undermine anti-discrimination efforts, so while I feel that they have at least been willing to talk to the community at times, so far I’ve been disappointed by their track record.

Blade: Another issue that’s been in the news quite prominently is the GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Senate just yanked that vote that was supposed to take place tomorrow. What do you predict will be the outcome of their efforts?

Polis: It’s safe to say the Senate has delayed action until after the recess, but the bill is far from dead, and it’s important to show solidarity with the efforts to protect the health care that billions of Americans enjoy, including people with pre-existing conditions.

In my home state of Colorado alone, 500,000 Coloradans have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and we cut the rate of people without insurance in half from 13 percent to about six-and-a-half percent.

Blade: Why do you think Republicans are so eager to move forward with a bill that the Congressional Budget Office estimated could result in the loss of coverage for 22 million Americans?

Polis: Republicans have been champing at the bit and running on repealing Obamacare ever since it passed. And it’s a little bit like the dog that catches the tail pipe of the car. It doesn’t know what to do. So, in the meantime, they don’t have a very good plan to replace what they were against, and by all objective measures, their plan is far worse.

It covers less people, it costs people more, it fails to adequately protect people with pre-existing conditions. Anybody looking at it from the health services [angle], even if they didn’t like Obamacare, would like the Republican plan even less.

Blade: Let’s talk about your time as a congressman in the past 10 years. How fulfilling has your tenure in Congress been for you?

Polis: It’ll be coming up on 10 years. Amazing honor to be able to serve the last nine years when I came in being able to serve alongside legends like Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin and now to see the number of LGBT members of Congress expand to six members. [Editor’s Note: There are seven openly LGB members of Congress, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and six openly LGB members of the U.S. House.]

It’s been exciting to see legislative victories like the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which I was a strong supporter of doing, the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. So to be able to be part of making history in expanding protections for the LGBT community has been a great honor.

Blade: To what extent were you able to accomplish all the things you wanted to accomplish?

Polis: I think that’s the nature of a democracy. I don’t think any member of Congress should run for office expecting they’re going to accomplish everything they want to because there happen to be 434 others in the House, not to mention 100 senators and a president.

So, there’s a long list of things to do, including with regard to equality. I’ve worked closely with David Cicilline to help bring together a coalition, which pulls in our work around ENDA — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which I led for a number of years — and adds in other areas of protections from discrimination for LGBT Americans.

Blade: What’s your assessment of Washington, D.C., the city that’s been hosting you for the past 10 years?

Polis: The city itself has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. Neighborhoods that used to be low-cost and dangerous are rapidly being gentrified. There are communities that have become vibrant culturally across the city. The economy’s doing better than it was 10 years ago.

I also worry about the partisanship. It seems to grip our government. It seems to have gotten worse over the last decade, and I hope that we can turn the corner on that and return to both parties working together to make our country better.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length.

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  1. LesbianTippingHabits

    July 4, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    The very best way Jared Polis can help create the momentum to win the Democratic nomination and the general election is by tipping generously for good service. It’s that simple.

    It’s also the very best way to immediately help to address economic inequality.

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies. Just ask Hillary.

    And only the wait staff knows for sure. Thank you.

  2. old married lady

    July 10, 2017 at 2:11 am

    If one knows the politics of the state, then they are aware that there really isn’t much hope for Jared. The I-25 corridor is mostly liberal (until it reaches military/religious Colorado Springs).The area west of the Rockies or as the locals call it, the Western Slope, is very conservative. Ditto the area east of I-25, the Eastern Plains. Even Congressional District 2, where he now serves-once made up mostly of Boulder and its suburbs-is now much more right-leaning with primarily conservative Fort Collins drawn into it. Were he not running for governor, it’s not out of the question that he could lose that CD 2 seat next November. I expect he knows this, hence the change of horses.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise



Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots



New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011



shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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