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Originally published August 12, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Page modified August 12, 2010 at 10:09 PM

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Judge rules sheriff can release report of attorney's DUI arrest

A King County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that the Sheriff's Office can release a redacted report written by a deputy who arrested high-profile Seattle attorney Anne Bremner on suspicion of drunken driving June 4 in Kenmore. Her attorney filed an immediate appeal.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A King County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that the Sheriff's Office can release a redacted report written by a deputy who arrested high-profile Seattle attorney Anne Bremner on suspicion of drunken driving June 4 in Kenmore.

However, Bremner's attorney, Tyler Firkins, immediately filed for a 14-day stay of the judge's ruling so the decision can be appealed.

The Sheriff's Office had earlier said the report, with names and other identifying information blacked out, would be made available next week if the judge were to rule in favor of releasing it. But the stay means the report won't be released until the appeal can be heard.

Bremner had asked the court to bar release of the deputy's report to news reporters to avoid negative publicity that could damage her reputation as a legal expert. She was not in court Thursday.

In an interview last week, Bremner said she had drinks with dinner on the night of June 3 but was not drunk when she was pulled over by the deputy. Instead, she says she was the victim of a hit-and-run accident before her arrest and suffered a brain injury, resulting in behavior that mimicked the signs of alcohol impairment.

But in court documents, the Sheriff's Office said Bremner didn't report being in an accident or request medical attention at the time of her arrest. She was pulled over because a deputy spotted her driving her BMW with a flattened tire, according to the Sheriff's Office. Once stopped, Bremner showed signs of impairment, the Sheriff's Office said.

Bremner was booked into King County Jail just after 2 a.m. June 4 — her 52nd birthday — and was released less than five hours later, jail records show.

Sarah Roberts, the prosecutor for the city of Kenmore, said Thursday that she hasn't made a decision on whether to charge Bremner with DUI. She declined to say why it has taken more than two months to review the case.

Bremner, in arguing to bar release of the report, had claimed her right to privacy would be violated if information about her head injury was made public. But Judge Laura Inveen noted that Bremner had spoken to The Seattle Times about the injury.

Firkins also sought significant redactions to the police report, arguing that the deputy's observations about Bremner's behavior are "embarrassing in nature." But Inveen denied the request, agreeing only to limited redactions.

Though Inveen allowed the release of the report, she agreed that surveillance video showing Bremner in a holding cell after her arrest should not be made public. Video of Bremner in handcuffs will also be withheld from the media, the judge ruled.

But Inveen ruled that other video, including footage from the police precinct in Kenmore taken outside a holding cell, could be released. She also said tapes of two 911 calls that Bremner made could be released to the media, noting that Bremner allowed a reporter to hear the tapes last week.

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Deputy Prosecutor John Cobb also submitted additional evidence for the judge's consideration, including a lengthy e-mail reportedly written by Bremner to a number of friends and associates Aug. 6, detailing what happened the night of her arrest.

Cobb also argued that a declaration from Dr. Philip Lindsay should be stricken from the record. Lindsay, a neurologist who examined Bremner four days after her release from jail, documented "a bruise and knot on her forehead, and also bruising on her arms from the officer." He later stated: "I further believe that she was mistakenly arrested for DUI based solely on the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury."

In his motion to strike Lindsay's declaration, Cobb wrote: "Nowhere in his declaration does he give a factual basis for blaming the officer for the bruising on plaintiff's arms."

As for the brain injury, Cobb argued that Lindsay "lacks the requisite training and experience in law enforcement to determine whether someone has been 'mistakenly arrested.' Before being arrested, plaintiff [Bremner] was exhibiting symptoms, which Dr. Lindsay admits could be from a brain injury or intoxication."

Inveen ultimately decided not to strike Lindsay's entire declaration but said she would consider how much weight to give it.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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