Delegate accused of sending harassing e-mail

State Del. John P. Donoghue has admitted to using another lawmaker’s e-mail account to send a harassing message targeting a Hagerstown man.

The incident, which took place Jan. 21, came before the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics earlier this month, according to a letter from committee counsel William G. Somerville. But the committee voted not take up the complaint, saying that “the matters alleged are not within the jurisdiction of the joint committee,” according to a letter sent Thursday to Donoghue (D-Dist. 2C) of Hagerstown.

Now the man who filed the complaint, Jeffrey Werner of Hagerstown, says he intends to file a civil lawsuit against Donoghue.

In a Jan. 21 e-mail obtained by The Gazette, Donoghue replied to all recipients of an e-mail that Werner had sent to a number of state officials. However, Donoghue used Del. Peter A. Hammen’s state-issued computer and e-mail account and did not sign the e-mail.

In his response, Donoghue called Werner a “wife beater,” saying he had unpaid credit card debt and a protective order out against him.

Werner denies the claims, but acknowledges there was a protective order against him in 2004, stemming from a divorce filed in Baltimore County.

Werner is known for his opposition to illegal immigration and sent the original e-mail on behalf of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political organization based in Washington, D.C.

Hammen (D-Dist. 46) of Baltimore is chair of the House Health and Government Operations Committee, on which Donoghue sits.


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