February 9, 2012

Plotting The Cutler Files

A court filing contains Scarcelli campaign emails about attacking the independent on a website, but she insists she was unaware of the plan.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Eliot Cutler, Rosa Scarcelli and Dennis Bailey

Related Documents

Cutler court documents (pdf)

She made the email reference to starting a blog campaign about Cutler that November.

Her husband, Thomas Rhoads, had begun assembling a three-ring binder of information about Cutler. Much of it was gleaned from Internet research, although he also paid for Democratic voting records that showed Cutler and his wife had voted by absentee ballot several times while claiming to live in Maine, the documents say.

When Scarcelli lost the primary, she contacted the Democratic nominee, Mitchell, and offered her the book for $30,000, according to Scarcelli's deposition testimony.

"I told Libby that Thom had pulled together some documents and that – in a binder, a book – and that we needed to pay down some debt," Scarcelli said in her deposition.

Mitchell declined.

Rhoads and Bailey, who by then was working for independent candidate Shawn Moody, started discussing an anonymous website, which became The Cutler Files.

Scarcelli has maintained that she did not know about the plan and was not involved. In July 2010, however, she responded to an email from Bailey about Cutler:

"Perfect. This is why we need to start blogging all the goods. We need to liven this party up," Scarcelli wrote.

In another July 2010 email, written by her husband to Bailey with a copy to Scarcelli, Rhoads wrote of his opposition research on Cutler: "I think it makes most sense to go with it on our own independently on a website."

Scarcelli replies, "And give it to Paul."

An email from Bailey to Rhoads in July 2010 said, "As Rosa predicted, Libby (Mitchell) will be third (in the general election). We can get Moody in the 7 to 8 percent range and Cutler will be toast."

Another email string between Bailey and Scarcelli talked about a prayer circle to help LePage beat Cutler. "That was a joke," she said Wednesday.

The Cutler Files was posted during the last months of the campaign, and Bailey and Rhoads did not admit involvement until well after the election. That led to the ethics commission investigation and the fine against Bailey.

Scarcelli said Wednesday that the court filings are based on comments she made about routine opposition research that was done early in the campaign.

"My campaign pointed out some weaknesses that they thought were important to highlight," she said. "I can absolutely guarantee you that every campaign did opposition research."

She said her email references to blogging referred to posting anonymous comments on newspaper websites or existing blogs, not creating a blog or a website.

"None of (The Cutler Files) had anything to do with my campaign and I have testified under oath to that," she said.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

jrichardson@mainetoday.com

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