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Jury tells senator's husband to pay $50,000 for 'battery' in sex suit
A jury in a civil trial found that a state senator's husband battered his wife's former campaign manager and he should pay her $50,000 in damages.
The verdict was announced Friday afternoon, culminating nearly two weeks of testimony and arguments. Defendant Basil Badley and his wife, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, weren't in the Island County courtroom to hear the jury's decision.
Coupeville resident Courtney Jones and a number of her supporters in the courtroom wept after the verdict was read. Jones worked as Haugen's campaign manager in 2008. She filed the lawsuit against Badley in 2009, claiming that he had kissed and groped her during a dinner at the couple's home while the senator was away.
It took the jury about six hours to decide the two-part verdict. In the first part, they answered "yes" to the question of whether Badley committed the battery of Jones.
In the second part, the jury found that Jones was entitled to $6,000 in economic damages and $44,000 in emotional damages.
Afterward, Badley's attorney, Tyna Ek, said simply that she was surprised by the verdict.
Jones' attorney, Thomas Breen, said he was satisfied with the verdict. He had asked the jury to award Jones $100,000 in damages, but he said he respected their decision to award less. He said the most important consideration was that the jury unanimously agreed with Jones and that Badley did, in fact, batter her.
The lawsuit originally went to trial as a "sexual assault and battery" charge, but Judge Alan Hancock ruled after the plaintiff rested their case that the evidence didn't support the "sexual assault" part of the claim and left it as a battery case. In an interview, Breen described battery as "offensive touching" and said that's what Jones was alleging all along.
Both Jones and Badley took the stand during the trial and described their version of events.
Jones described tearfully Badley repeatedly kissed her, licked her face and groped her as she physically and verbally resisted.
In his testimony, Badley admitted to kissing Jones and touching her breast, but said he immediately stopped when she pushed him away. He said he thanked her because he didn't want to hurt her wife, then fell asleep.