By Nicholas Johnson

Des Moines City Councilmember Anthony Martinelli responded Thursday to growing calls that he resign over multiple domestic violence allegations, writing on social media that the six criminal charges against him “were never true” and alleging that “from the start the case had an undeniable political element to it.

“This is why I did not resign, and why I will not resign,” Martinelli wrote on Facebook. “I will now move forward and – as I have for the past two years – do everything I can to help the city as your council member.”

Martinelli’s comments came minutes after Judge Pro Tem Karama Hawkins signed off on a three-year pretrial diversion agreement in Des Moines Municipal Court.

“If you are in compliance after 24 months, the court would entertain a motion to dismiss at that time,” Hawkins said, wishing Martinelli luck. “I am hopeful that when two years rolls around, we’ll be ready to enter orders of dismissal on these cases.”

Under the agreement, all charges could be dismissed if Martinelli complies with certain conditions, such as paying any fees, surrendering any firearms, having no criminal law violations and having no contact with protected parties.

The deal also requires Martinelli to attend a King County program that addresses the impact of family conflict on children as well as a moral reconation therapy (MRT) program “that increases accountability for offenders, provides insight into why individuals may have acted violently, and assists in confronting those tendencies in current situations,” according to a Thursday press release from the city of Des Moines.

If Martinelli fails to comply with the agreement, he would face a bench trial rather than a jury trial in which a judge would rely only on evidence presented in the city’s initial charging documents, including police reports and text-message threads.

The allegations against Martinelli were investigated by the Tukwila Police Department and the diversion agreement was negotiated between his attorney, Gina Buskirk of Puget Law Group, and attorney Abraham Ritter, a conflict prosecutor who handled the case for the city.

Martinelli was arrested Oct. 22 on six domestic violence-related charges alleging that he assaulted his partner in the presence of their young child in December 2020, and threatened to kill his partner in March 2021 and again in August 2021. On Oct. 25, Martinelli pleaded not guilty.

Upon Martinelli’s arrest, then-Mayor Matt Pina released a statement urging him to resign from the council. Martinelli’s term runs through 2023.

In a 5-1 vote Nov. 18, the council formally censured Martinelli in light of the allegations against him, removing him from his committee assignments – the Ad Hoc Franchise Committee, and the Public Safety and Emergency Management Committee – through Dec. 31, 2021.

Following additional allegations of domestic violence and abuse by two of Martinelli’s former partners reported Monday in The Seattle Times, Mayor Matt Mahoney as well as the 33rd District Democrats called on Martinelli to resign. A Change.org petition calling on Martinelli to resign had garnered 140 signatures as of Thursday.

VIDEO
Below is video of Martinelli’s Des Moines Municipal Court Hearing:

 

Nicholas Johnson (he/him) is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who grew up in Boulevard Park, graduated from Highline High School and studied journalism at Western Washington University. Send news tips, story ideas and positive vibes to [email protected].