The estranged wife of progressive activist Brett Kimberlin says he has been “mentally abusive” to her, claiming in a Maryland court that Kimberlin has been “threatening” her and trying to get her fired from her job at a Montgomery County daycare center.
Tetyana Kimberlin, 32, sought a domestic protective order this week, saying her husband had “been going by my work and telling my employer I am going to be arrested,” and that Kimberlin, 59, “had me arrested before on false charges.”
Brett Kimberlin was convicted in 1981 for a weeklong series of Indiana bombings and sentenced to 50 years in federal prison, but served only 17 years. While imprisoned, Kimberlin became briefly famous during the 1992 election campaign by claiming to have once sold marijuana to then-Vice President Dan Quayle. Kimberlin is now director of two progressive non-profit groups, the 501c3 Justice Through Music Project and 501c4 Velvet Underground.
“He told me if I will try to take my kids with me he will hurt me and I will see what will happen to me,” Kimberlin’s Russian-born wife wrote in her petition for a protection order, a case that was heard Tuesday in Silver Spring, Maryland. “He tells my 14-year-old about his plans about me and what he is going to do with me.”
Kimberlin has “been calling me terrible names … telling my children that I am mentally ill,” his wife wrote, saying she had been separated from him for seven months and now has a boyfriend, who also appeared in court Tuesday.
Montgomery County District Court Judge Patricia Mitchell denied Tetyana Kimberlin’s petition for a protection order. She was briefly taken into custody after Tuesday’s hearing, reportedly because her husband made a motion to have his wife involuntarily committed for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation, a motion the judge denied.
Meanwhile, Brett Kimberlin and his estranged wife’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Jay Richard Elliott of Gaithersburg, each sought peace orders against the other Tuesday. Kimberlin’s petition was denied, but Elliott’s was granted. Elliott, who is employed as a restaurant manager, wrote in his peace order petition that Kimberlin had been threatening and harassing him since October, “calling my work and say[ing] I better watch out.” Elliot said Kimberlin is “going to make me lose my job. … Now my job is on the line. … This is getting out of control.”
Kimberlin has filed criminal charges against Elliott,saying that his wife’s boyfriend had unauthorized use of a Toyota Highlander SUV that is owned by one of Kimberlin’s non-profit groups, but which his wife had been driving.
Kimberlin’s non-profit group Velvet Revolution made headlines by offering rewards for proof of claims that President George W. Bush’s campaign stole the 2004 presidential election. The group also made accusations of wrongdoing against former Bush advisor Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the late conservative Internet publisher Andrew Breitbart.
Last year, Kimberlin received widespread attentionafter several bloggers said they had been targeted for harassment after writing about Kimberlin’s criminal past. One of those bloggers, Virginia attorney Aaron Walker, said Kimberlin tried to “frame” him for an assault charge.
In May 2012, Walker was briefly arrested after a hearing on a peace order sought by Kimberlin. Conservative blogger Patrick Frey described this as a tactic by which Kimberlin abuses the legal process to intimidate critics:
[Kimberlin] forces his critics into his jurisdiction with a frivolous civil action. If Kimberlin’s critics complain that the action is frivolous, he calls that criticism “harassment,” and through a process of seeking frivolous peace orders and/or filing frivolous criminal complaints, obtains an arrest warrant for the critic. When the critic shows up to court as required, he or she is arrested on the trumped-up charges.
Success! The story becomes about the critic’s arrest. The critics look worse because authorities seem to take Kimberlin’s side; and he gets the satisfaction of putting his critics behind bars, even if for a short time.
Walker attended the Kimberlin hearing Tuesday and wrote: “It is sinister enough when it is done to a blogger, but in a way it is even creepier when it is used to bludgeon a spouse into obedience.”
Kimberlin's claims about selling marijuana to Quayle were featured in the Doonesbury comic strip, and were publicized by Cody Shearer, a liberal journalist connected to Bill Clinton.