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Judge lets D.C. ethics board opinion stand against Councilman Jim Graham

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,D.C. Council,Jim Graham

A D.C. judge refused Friday to require the city's ethics board to withdraw its opinion that said it had "substantial evidence" of misconduct by Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham.

"Mr. Graham has not met the standards for the issuance of a temporary restraining order," D.C. Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein said.

Caroline Mehta, a lawyer for Graham, said she was "undeterred."

Epstein's ruling came one day after Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he would pursue a resolution of reprimand against Graham, who offered in 2008 to trade his vote on the city's $38 million lottery contract in exchange for a company agreeing to withdraw its bid for a development project.

The council is scheduled to vote on the resolution Monday, and Graham has denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers sought to overturn an ethics board opinion from earlier this month because they felt he didn't have a chance to defend himself adequately before the panel issued its opinion.

The ethics board said it believed Graham had engaged in misconduct, but it declined to sanction him because of constitutional concerns and did not open a formal investigation.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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