Embattled Portland lawyer Andrew Long loses stalking defense
A Portland lawyer accused of stalking his former legal assistant failed to persuade a judge last week that his escalating statements about blood and violence — among more than 23,000 text messages and hundreds of emails he sent her in a single year — were not threatening.
Citing messages from Andrew Long such as "I will kill people if necessary" and "I will not relent until you relent or one of us dies," Multnomah Circuit Judge Kenneth Walker said it was reasonable for the lawyer's assistant to fear for her safety.
The threats came in recent months as Long sought to compel the 25-year-old woman to explain why she had quit working for him, and also to stop her from testifying against him in an eviction case last month.
Walker said Long, 40, did not seem threatening in person, but the judge added that "Anybody at any time could commit the most violent crime on Earth. ... I am not going to second-guess the law."
The stalking hearing was the latest in a string of bizarre events involving Long. They were highlighted early this month when the Oregon State Bar, which regulates lawyers, issued an unusual news release about its formal request that the Oregon Supreme Court suspend Long's license. The Bar called him a "potential public threat" who'd engaged in "a pattern of abhorrent behavior towards women."
In last week's hearing, the list of allegations against Long grew as one witness, a Portlander who works for the federal government downtown, accused the lawyer of raping her last year on a date, after meeting on Tinder.
Long denied raping the woman, telling the Portland Tribune: "I have never engaged in any nonconsensual sexual activity — not even a peck on the cheek — with anyone in my entire life."
He also denied allegations in the Bar action against him that he engaged in methamphetamine use and binge drinking in the office.
He attributed the eight active Bar complaints filed against him, the eviction case and the stalking order to a conspiracy by his wife, who's been locked in a three-year divorce and custody battle with him in Florida; his former legal assistant; and a former friend with whom he'd had a brief sexual relationship.
The opposing lawyer, Beth Creighton, of Creighton & Rose PC, argued in court for a stalking order blocking Long from further contact. She called him a "clearly unstable and deeply disturbed man."
Creighton cited texts in which the assistant asked Long again and again to "please leave me alone." He didn't.
Long's troubles with the Bar began last year, with allegations that he mishandled cases and client funds, and showed up drunk to court.
Long also settled a retaliation suit filed by another former employee; she said he "requested sexual favors" and subjected her to retaliation, including nonpayment of wages, after she said no.
In September, the owner of his Southwest Ninth Avenue building filed to evict him from his $1,175-a-month apartment. The move came after his friend, with whom he'd had a prior sexual relationship, was found outside his door crying, saying she was hit "in the face and neck" by Long.
Long denied it, and challenged the eviction in court. He lost, and filed an appeal.
During the case, the building owner's lawyer filed as exhibits thousands of text messages and emails that Long, 40, exchanged with the friend he allegedly hit, as well as with the 25-year-old former legal assistant.
The former assistant subsequently filed a stalking order, citing messages by Long that spoke of violence and of doing harm to her, her career, and future children.
Chided by judge
The stalking hearing took place over two days before Thanksgiving, with Long serving as his own lawyer.
Appearing highly frustrated, the judge intervened over and over as Long, cross-examining his former legal assistant, sought to prove that she'd been manipulated by his wife.
She said her former boss made her fearful, recounted repeated inappropriate behavior, and at one point became tearful on the stand.
The judge repeatedly interrupted Long to sustain objections by Creighton, the opposing lawyer — occasionally saying "Sustained" before any objection was even made.
Long sought to discredit the woman who accused him of rape, who'd been called as a witness by his former assistant. He noted that she has memory problems from a childhood brain injury, and claimed that she had confused him with another ex-boyfriend.
The woman angrily denied that on the stand. She conceded that she was drunk, and added that while Long said he gave her four Adderalls to keep her awake during their drinking, she suspected he drugged her with something else as well.
"It seemed very deliberate," the woman said of the alleged rape. "It affects me to this day."
At the close of the first day of the hearing, Walker bluntly warned Long to not make a "mockery" of his court.
On the hearing's second day, Long denied hurting anyone. He downplayed his threats as stemming from habitual use of "hyperbolic" language and "vivid" imagery.
Long sought unsuccessfully to get the judge to take notice of evidence that his former assistant and former friend shared information with his wife. They also talked of a "secret alliance," and joked that he might spend all his money battling his eviction.
Walker rejected Long's argument, but said the stalking order need only last a year.
Long, meanwhile, continues to battle the Bar's request that the Oregon Supreme Court suspend him immediately.
Meanwhile, due to failure to pay child support, the lawyer faces arrest if he returns to Florida.