Lamborn ad attacking Williams 2022 primary

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Mike Allen announced a decision on Friday not to pursue charges against U.S. Rep. Lamborn based on a criminal complaint filed months earlier by state Rep. Dave Williams over a Lamborn ad targeting Williams when the two were running against each other in Colorado's June primary in the 5th Congressional District. Williams said the ad contained false claims, but Allen said there was "insufficient factual basis" to support charges.

District Attorney Mike Allen won't pursue charges against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in response to a criminal complaint alleging attack ads aired by the Republican lawmaker against a primary challenger contained false statements, Allen's office announced Friday.

State Rep. Dave Williams, one of three Republicans who ran against Lamborn in the primary, asked Allen in early June to determine whether Lamborn's ads violate a Colorado law that prohibits distributing false information meant to influence an election.

Williams disputed claims made in radio and TV ads released by Lamborn ahead of the June 29 primary that said Williams was "fired" by former President Donald Trump's Colorado campaign and accused Williams of sponsoring legislation to divert funds from law enforcements to organizations that support abortion and defunding the police.

Lamborn won nomination to a ninth term representing the El Paso County-based 5th Congressional District, finishing 14 percentage points ahead of Williams, with two other candidates trailing. Lamborn faces Democrat David Torres in the November general election.

In a letter sent to Williams on Friday, Allen said his office had determined after an investigation that there was "insufficient factual support for your allegations," so no charges will be filed.

Allen added that Lamborn's ads are also protected under the First Amendment. 

"The statements at the heart of your allegations, while distasteful to you, would likely be classified as protected speech and that alone would prove fatal to any prosecution effort," Allen wrote.

Allen noted that professional rules discourage prosecutors from filing charges that aren't supported by probable cause.

Calling Allen a "Lamborn crony," Williams accused the prosecutor of shielding Lamborn from justice despite what Williams characterized as "clear evidence" of wrongdoing. 

“The political and news establishment in Colorado Springs shamelessly propped up Doug Lamborn’s failed record, like when he lost Space Command, so it isn’t surprising to see Michael Allen, a Lamborn crony, refuse to seek justice against his friend while deliberately mischaracterizing the clear evidence his office was given," Williams said in a text message to Colorado Politics.

Added Williams: "Fortunately, Michael Allen doesn’t get to have double standards of justice that only benefit his insider friends without consequence, as he will have to face the voters again in 2024.”

Allen, a Republican, has worked as a prosecutor in the 4th Judicial District, covering El Paso and Teller counties, since 2011. He was elected to a four-year term as district attorney in 2020.

A spokeswoman for Lamborn said that neither the congressman nor his campaign had a comment on the decision.

The Colorado law Williams cited makes it a misdemeanor to "knowingly or recklessly" communicate a false statement "designed to affect the vote" in an election. While often invoked by candidates when they're pushing back against attacks, the law doesn't appear to have been prosecuted in the two decades it's been on the books.

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