DENVER — Dudley Brown, the executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, has been added as a co-defendant in a lawsuit filed by a gay couple whose engagement photo was used without their consent in a political mailer last year.
Brown, who’s known for targeting GOP lawmakers who don’t adhere to strict conservative principles, allegedly planned and helped pay for the mailers distributed by Public Advocate of the United States, the group sued last fall by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of the gay couple in the photo and the photographer who took it.
Christine Sun, the SPLC attorney handling the case, tells FOX31 Denver that she’s obtained emails between Brown and Public Advocate staff in Washington, DC showing that the two parties collaborated on putting together the mailer, which was used against former state Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, who lost a primary challenge last year to Brown’s preferred candidate, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs.
Sun also tells FOX31 that she has evidence that Brown sent a check to the printing company that produced the mailer.
Dudley Brown proposed the mailers in an April 2012 email to Public Advocate where he described how “[t]he gay lobby smells blood in the water, and if some pro-gay legislators don’t lose their primaries, I fear Colorado will tumble [i.e., pass legislation authorizing civil unions] in the 2013 session.”
He added, “What I propose is that PA [Public Advocate] pay for mailing. … My staff and I would do all the work, but we’d want PA to sign off, put its name on the dotted line, and pay for the mailings. I would counsel mailing slick and glossies, with the ‘two men kissing’ photo.”
White attended a September 2012 press conference in Denver to announce the initial law suit, along with Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere, the two New Jersey men shown kissing in the engagement photo that was misappropriated for the mailer.
Brown was named as a co-defendant on Wednesday, along with Luke O’Dell, who heads up National Association of Gun Rights, and Andrew Brown, the graphic designer who Photoshopped pine trees into the photo.
The two groups, RMGO and NAGR, were also added to the suit.
Meanwhile, at the Capitol Wednesday morning, lawmakers held a hearing to gather information in an ongoing ethics probe surrounding Joe Neville, Brown’s lobbyist, who allegedly threatened state Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, with political mailers attacking her during a confrontation in February when lawmakers were debating Democratic gun control proposals.