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John McCain leaves complicated legacy on LGBT rights

Arizona Republican succumbs to brain cancer at age 81

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John McCain, Values Voter Summit, gay news, Washington Blade, United States Senate, Republican Party, Arizona

John McCain, Values Voter Summit, gay news, Washington Blade, United States Senate, Republican Party, Arizona

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) leaves a complicated legacy on LGBT rights upon his death. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at 81, leaves a legacy of patriotism, service to country — and being a thorn in the side of President Trump — but his legacy on LGBT issues is more complicated.

Throughout his decades in Congress, the Arizona Republican took widely different stances on LGBT issues — at times mocking them as unimportant, at other times embracing equal rights for the LGBT community. McCain would often oppose LGBT rights to align with his party and for the sake of political expediency, although the general direction of the positions he took as time went on demonstrated increasing acceptance of LGBT people.

Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement McCain’s growing acceptance of LGBT rights is consistent with many Americans.

“John McCain’s journey to a more supportive place on a number of LGBTQ issues is one that is familiar to so many Americans,” Davis said. “His evolution is reflective of the growing awareness that each and every one of us share the same values and the same aspirations, and we all strive toward building a more perfect nation.”

An early test for McCain on LGBT issues during his career in the Senate came in 1993, when lawmakers were debating gays in the military in response to then-President Clinton’s call to lift the administrative ban on their service. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain was part of the deliberation that ended with lawmakers passing the statutory ban on military service that came to be known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Three years later in 1996, McCain continued his opposition to LGBT rights when he was one of 84 senators to vote in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal prohibition on the recognition of same-sex marriage.

At around this time, former Rep. Jim Kolbe, McCain’s fellow congressman from Arizona who was closeted at the time, angered LGBT activists for his vote in favor of DOMA. LGBT activists, including the then-publishers of the Washington Blade, threatened to out Kolbe over his vote, but Kolbe pre-empted them by coming out as gay.

Despite the political risk of coming out at the time, McCain came to his friend’s aid and said Kolbe’s coming out hadn’t “caused much of a ripple” in Arizona.

“I think Jim Kolbe has the respect and appreciation of most Arizonans,” McCain said. “I believe if he ran for re-election, he wouldn’t have much difficulty.”

McCain’s prediction proved correct. Kolbe would be re-elected and go on to serve another six terms in Congress before retiring in 2007.

In an interview Sunday with the Arizona-based Kronkite News, Kolbe said having McCain’s support when coming out as gay was important.

“In fact, before I could even tell him, he put up his hand and said, ‘Jim, don’t worry about it, you’re my friend, you’re always going to be my friend, and it’s not going to make any difference,’ before I even got the words out of my mouth,” Kolbe said. “And so, he was intensely loyal to people that he liked, and he was certainly intensely loyal to me.”

Nearly a decade after the DOMA vote, McCain took a position aligned with the goals of the LGBT community in 2004 and 2006 when he broke with his party and opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, a measure pushed by President George W. Bush that would have changed the U.S. Constitution to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage.

At a time when support for LGBT rights wasn’t popular and most Americans opposed same-sex marriage, McCain’s position as one of the few Republicans to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment was distinctive.

Although McCain acknowledged on the Senate floor opponents of the amendment contended it was “purposely divisive, discriminatory and intended to deny some Americans their right to the pursuit of happiness,” the Arizona Republican’s stated reason for opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment was federalism grounds.

“The legal definition of marriage has always been left to the states to decide, in accordance with the prevailing standards of their neighborhoods and communities,” McCain said. “Certainly, that view has prevailed for many years in my party where we adhere to a rather stricter federalism than has always been the case in the prevailing views among our friends in the Democratic Party.”

Consistent with that federalism approach, McCain was a vocal supporter in 2006 of a proposed state constitutional amendment at the ballot in Arizona seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage and even appeared in a campaign calling for its passage.

(Ironically, the Arizona amendment in 2006 was the first anti-gay marriage amendment to fail at the ballot, although voters in the state corrected that by passing a different version of the amendment in 2008. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would eventually strike down the amendment as unconstitutional.)

Unlike other politicians, McCain never evolved on the issue of same-sex marriage and continued to oppose it even after the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 in favor of marriage equality nationwide.

In 2008, McCain embarked on his presidential run and won the nomination to run against Barack Obama for the White House. Seeking to appeal to a nationwide audience, McCain reached out to the LGBT community through an interview with the Washington Blade, making him the first (and still only) Republican presidential nominee to participate in a Q&A with the LGBT media.

In the interview, McCain suggested he could support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and was open to a review of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Although he reiterated his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, McCain suggested that might change if the courts forced states to recognize same-sex marriage.

Notably, McCain when asked to identify a gay role model chose 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, who helped lead passengers in diverting United Airlines Flight 93 from the terrorists’ intended target of the U.S. Capitol building. McCain delivered the eulogy at Bingham’s funeral and spoke warmly about him during the Blade Q&A.

“I love my country, and I take pride in serving her,” McCain said. “But I cannot say that I love her more or as well as Mark Bingham did, or the other heroes on United Flight 93 who gave their lives to prevent our enemies from inflicting an even greater injury on our country.”

McCain was endorsed during his presidential run by Log Cabin Republicans, a distinction Trump failed to achieve eight years later despite having the reputation in 2016 of being the most pro-LGBT Republican nominee in history.

But any growing acceptance of LGBT rights vanished during the first years of the Obama administration when lawmakers debated repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Faced with a Tea Party challenge to his Senate seat during a Republican primary from radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, McCain was the biggest opponent of ending the prohibition on gays in the military and fought aggressively against changing the policy.

In one hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain called into question the results of a 2010 Pentagon study calling for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the implementation of open service.

“I remain concerned, as I have in the past, and as demonstrated in this study, that the closer we get to service members in combat, the more we encounter concerns about whether ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed,” McCain said. “These views should not be considered lightly, especially considering how much combat our forces face.”

When the Senate after an extensive, deliberate process and several failed attempts finally voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in December 2010, LGBT right supporters were celebrating, but McCain wasn’t. The Arizona Republican called the occasion a “sad day” on the Senate floor.

As the advancement of LGBT rights continued throughout the Obama administration, McCain had a mixed bag of views and many times remain opposed. When the inclusion of a bi-national same-sex couple was considered as part of immigration reform in 2013, McCain was derisive of the effort and warned that using comprehensive immigration reform as a vehicle for advancing “social issues” would lead to failure for the legislation.

“I think it is a red herring,” McCain said. “I think then, do we want to guarantee a taxpayer free abortion? I’m telling you now, if you load this up with social issues and things that are controversial, then it will endanger the issue.”

But McCain also started exhibiting signs of moderating on LGBT issues. In 2013, McCain was among the 10 Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — although that vote came after public prodding from his wife Cindy McCain in the form of a postcard to her husband. The bill passed on a bipartisan basis in the Senate, but never came up in the Republican-controlled House.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, pointed to his organization’s endorsement of McCain in 2008 as well as the Arizona Republican’s vote in favor of ENDA in a statement recalling the “long and positive history” between the two.

“His support for ENDA in 2013 opposing employment discrimination against the LGBT community will go down in history as a legacy vote proving his evolution in support of LGBT Americans followed in the historic footsteps of Barry Goldwater, the United States senator whose seat he inherited,” Angelo said.

Although he voted for ENDA, McCain in an almost contradictory vein was a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. The legislation would have undermined LGBT protections, including President Obama’s 2014 executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination.

At the same time, McCain came out against proposed “religious freedom” legislation in Arizona. His voice helped get the ball rolling for a media firestorm that compelled Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the legislation.

After McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer and his life and public service came to a close, the Arizona Republican ended his public service on a note in support of LGBT rights.

After President Trump announced via Twitter last year he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” McCain lambasted him. Although McCain’s objections at the time were about announcing the policy change via Twitter, that would change.

When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation last year seeking to halt Trump’s transgender military ban, McCain became an original co-sponsor and issued a statement in support of transgender military service.

“When less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,” McCain said. “Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve — including those who are transgender.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, referenced McCain’s support for transgender service as evidence of the Arizona Republican’s growing acceptance of LGBT rights at the end of his life.

“While we disagreed on many issues, later in his career, he became an increasingly vocal advocate for LGBTQ service members,” Griffin said. “In the last few years, Sen. McCain blocked anti-LGBTQ language in the National Defense Authorization Act, opposed a ‘license to discriminate’ bill in Arizona, denounced the Trump-Pence Administration’s effort to ban transgender troops and spoke out against the nomination of the anti-LGBTQ Mark Green to lead the Army. We join with millions of Americans in mourning his loss, and extend our deepest condolences to Sen. McCain’s wife, Cindy, and his entire family.”

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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

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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

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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

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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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