George Allen’s campaign sent out this statement tonight:
The following statement was issued through the Allen campaign today by George W. Bailey, the Sheriff of Albemarle County from 1970-1987:
“I served as Sheriff of Albemarle County, including Charlottesville, from 1970 to 1987, and was the chief individual responsible for law enforcement during that period.
“During his time as an undergraduate and law student, I was familiar with George Allen. He was a prominent student, not the sort one easily forgets.
“At no time during my service as sheriff was he arrested or brought up on any offense in Albemarle County. It would have crossed my desk, and would not have escaped my notice.
“I understand there is some question about two entries for warrants or summonses in the County docket book in 1973 and/or 1974, while George was a student. This could have been for anything as small as an unpaid parking ticket or hunting or fishing license violation. An entry in that book does not mean there was an arrest, conviction or anything of the kind.
“The fact that there is no record of a trial or judgment settles the matter — this was for some minor infraction. If George Allen — a member of the football team and a prominent student — has committed some offense, even as an undergraduate, it is certain I would have been informed, and likely that I would have dealt with the matter personally. But there was no such offense, and consequently nothing more to be said about the matter.”
The release of the former sheriff’s statement is an apparent reaction to a letter sent two days ago by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to the Virginia state bar asking that it make public Allen’s application to the bar from nearly 30 years ago:
In the late 1970s, Mr. Allen applied to, and was subsequently admitted to, the Virginia State Bar. Mr. Allen’s Bar application was submitted less than five years after two arrest warrants were issued in his name in Albemarle County, Virginia. Since the official arrest records have been purged, your organization may be one of a handful with official documentation regarding these arrests.
Mr. Allen’s name appears in an Albemarle County court index from 1974 and a campaign aide claims Allen was arrested for unpaid parking tickets and fishing without a license. To date, though, Mr. Allen has refused to produce any written documentation verifying his explanation for why the warrants were issued and has not personally addressed the matter.
As such, we are asking that the Virginia State Bar immediately release Mr. Allen’s Bar application on which he was asked about his arrest record. The application will shed light on whether Mr. Allen was arrested for unpaid parking tickets or for something much more severe like assault or battery.
With Mr. Allen suspiciously refusing to disclose the details of his arrests to the public, releasing this information may be the only way for Virginians to learn the truth about Mr. Allen’s arrest record.
I asked the Allen camp tonight whether the release of the former sheriff’s statement tonight was in anticipation of any upcoming news stories or new information. They said no.
UPDATE: I just talked with another source in the Allen campaign. He says the sheriff’s statement was released in reaction to questions from the press today in which one reporter quoted portions of the DSCC letter. “Reporters were asking about it,” the source says, “so we thought, why don’t we just put this out.” The so-called arrests suggested by Democrats, the source says, “never happened.” “What happened was, one year he got parking tickets that weren’t paid, and the next year he had a citation for fishing without a license.”