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Snohomish County sheriff asks court to dismiss recall efforts over coronavirus comments

A claim has been filed against Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney to resign after he said he wouldn't enforce the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

Editor's note: The above video aired at an earlier date.

A Washington sheriff has asked the state’s highest court to reject legal arguments seeking his removal. 

The Daily Herald reported attorneys for Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney are seeking a state Supreme Court review of a lower court ruling allowing an effort to unseat him to move forward. 

The Committee to Recall Sheriff Fortney accuses him of violating his statutory duties and endangering community peace and safety by saying in an April 21 social media post that he would not enforce Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus stay-at-home order. 

The group also leveled other accusations of office misuse by Fortney.

In order to place a recall on the ballot, petitioners must collect 35% of the total number of votes cast for all Snohomish County sheriff candidates. 

Back in May, Fortney requested that the recall charge be defended at the public's expense. Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell denied the request and said it would only be reconsidered if, after judicial review, the petition is "false and frivolous."

The petition, filed April 23, alleges Fortney "encouraged the public" to violate the stay-home order.

"I'm gonna stand up for what I believe in. I think I said what a lot of other people were thinking but weren't saying out loud," Fortney told KING 5 in late May.

The woman who filed the claim now has 140 days to gather enough signatures, about 42,000, to put the recall to a vote of the people, something she concedes could be difficult to do during the coronavirus pandemic.