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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Politician’s Restraining Order Sent Back To Court

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - The Utah Supreme Court remanded an injunction against former U.S. Senate candidate Michael Ridgeway, who was accused of stalking Mark Towner and his wife at "virtually every Republican event" for not voting the way Ridgeway asked him to vote.

Mark Towner, who ran unsuccessfully for state senate, got a restraining order against Ridgeway because Ridgeway had allegedly harassed him with e-mails and phone calls accusing Towner of being a "traitor, liar and backstabber."

Towner's wife testified that Ridgeway glared at her at a committee meeting "and he kind of tensed up and leaned forward and took a couple of quick steps toward" her before leaving the room.

At the 2006 Salt Lake County Republican Convention, during a caucus meeting to select candidates for the state senate, Ridgeway passed out a letter explaining why he did not support Towner's candidacy. When Towner lost the election, he says Ridgeway approached him and sarcastically apologized "in a very derogatory way." Towner claims he shot back with, "Cheap shot, Mike."

The court remanded to determine whether Ridgeway's actions could be considered stalking. It also held that the injunction against him did not unconstitutionally bar Ridgeway from making comments that might "annoy" the Towners unless the statements were directed to the couple.

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