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Mayoral hopeful accused of kicking Nickels' guard

Seattle mayoral candidate Richard Lee was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of misdemeanor assault for allegedly kicking and shoving...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seattle mayoral candidate Richard Lee was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of misdemeanor assault for allegedly kicking and shoving one of Mayor Greg Nickels' police bodyguards.

Lee, who is host of a cable-access television show devoted largely to his theory that rock star Kurt Cobain was murdered, had approached Nickels at a Fremont campaign event and yelled questions at him.

Shortly after 8 p.m., as the mayor entered a car to leave the event, Lee "rushed toward the mayor's car" while "yelling to the mayor about Kurt Cobain's mutilated body," according to a police report.

Lee kicked Officer P.J. Fox, one of Nickels' police bodyguards, in the right calf and shoved him in an effort to get closer to the mayor, according to the report.

Fox restrained Lee, who yelled profanities, the report said. Lee was booked into King County Jail shortly after midnight and released yesterday afternoon after posting a $950 bail bond, jail records show.

Lee disputed the police account yesterday and said he intends to plead not guilty. He contended Fox grabbed him and "violently jerked me around" as the mayor was already driving away. Police confiscated Lee's video camera and equipment.

"Greg Nickels did this to me," Lee said, describing the mayor as "panicked" by his Cobain questions. "They had a game plan and the game plan was to try and discredit me."

Nickels spokeswoman Marianne Bichsel said the mayor's office was "very concerned about his [Lee's] mental stability and his violent behavior."

Lee, 42, frequently shows up with his video camera at political events and book signings to harangue public officials and music-industry insiders about Cobain's 1994 death.

Police in Los Angeles handcuffed him this year outside a court appearance for Courtney Love, Cobain's widow, according to an account taped by the television show "Access Hollywood." Lee has described himself as the victim in that incident and said he was held for 65 hours but never charged.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times reporter Sara Jean Green contributed to this report.

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