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D.C. Superior Court Associate Judge Anthony Epstein told Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham this morning he’ll be on his own next week when the D.C. Council votes on whether to reprimand Graham and strip him of oversight of the city’s alcoholic beverage board.

Graham wanted Epstein to order the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability to withdraw its findings from a few weeks ago that was critical of Graham’s behavior regarding two public contracts. Graham’s lawyers argued that the ethics board’s findings were unconstitutional and were prompting the D.C. Council to punish him unfairly.

Epstein backed away from those arguments like they were soggy turds and said he had no “conceivable authority” to tell councilmembers what they should consider when voting whether to punish Graham. After the hearing, Graham’s lawyer, Caroline Mehta, acknowledged that the temporary restraining order gambit had been a long shot, but said the point in filing it was to send a message to the ethics board and the public at large that the board’s findings are bunk. Message received?

File photo by Darrow Montgomery