Semiahmoo resident Lincoln Rutter pled guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court to attempting to intimidate a public servant, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with an option to serve 20 of those days in community service or under electronic home monitoring.
The infraction is a Class C felony. Judge Deborra Garret handed down the sentence at a plea hearing and sentencing April 25.
June 1, 2012, Rutter was accused of assaulting county assessor Keith Willnauer by grabbing him by his tie and pulling him across the front counter of the assessor’s office.
In an affidavit of probable cause, Whatcom County deputy prosecuting attorney Mac Setter outlined the reason for Rutter’s outburst, namely that he disagreed with Willnauer’s decision to allow land near Rutter’s property to remain in tax-exempt status. According to court documents, Rutter became enraged when Willnauer didn’t give Rutter the documents he’d requested.
“[Rutter] reached across the counter grabbing Willnauer’s necktie. The defendant continued to yell threats at Willnauer which was [sic] variously reported by witnesses as ‘do you think you can do this to me, I’ll show you;’ ‘there’ll be ramifications, you can’t do this to me;’ ‘if you don’t give it to me there’ll be ramifications,’” Setter wrote, adding that the 6'4", 245-pound Rutter used both hands to grab Willnauer’s necktie, tightening it to the point of obstructing Willnauer’s breathing, and held it for about ten seconds before releasing. Willnauer’s shirt collar was torn in the scuffle, according to the affidavit.
Jeffrey Lustick was the defense attorney.