Connecticut Republicans may have picked Martha Dean as their candidate for attorney general in 2010, but there’s no love lost between the Avon lawyer and party leadership this week after Dean posted a video on Facebook suggesting the Newtown shootings were staged.
Kevin Rennie first wrote Thursday about Dean’s Facebook post on his blog Daily Ructions. On Monday, she posted the video with a comment that read, “NEWTOWN SETUP? What is wrong here …”
Dean’s link leads to a half-hour video that questions whether the shooting even happened and at times implies that the grieving parents featured in news footage are actors. It bases its questions largely off confused and inaccurate reporting that was broadcast in the first few hours following the shooting.
Reached by phone at her law offices in Avon, Dean opted not to answer questions and instead responded in writing by email. She sent a one-sentence response acknowledging the loss of life in Newtown.
“We all love kids and we all mourn the tragic loss of school staff and children at Newtown, but we must never fear asking questions — or posting questions asked by others,” she said.
However, her comments on Facebook at times seem supportive of the video’s premise. When one user likens the video to those alleging former President George W. Bush was the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Dean’s Facebook account responded with:
“You are right yet, still, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Being wrong once does not mean always wrong. Respond to this info . . . what’s wrong here?”
The video prompted a press release from Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo blasting Dean for posting the link.
“Someone who purported to be qualified to be the attorney for the State of Connecticut should know better,” she said.
Republican lawmakers responded with a press release of their own, decrying Dean’s decision to post a video featuring “vile” conspiracy theories.
“The victims and families of Newtown and Connecticut as a whole have been devastated by this horrible tragedy, many of whom may never recover. We do not need to hear these vile conspiracy claims,’’ House Republican leader Lawrence Cafero said. “I have no idea why she would call attention to this by posting it on her social media page, but it would be best if she takes it down.’‘
Senate Republican leader John McKinney, who represents the town of Newtown, also criticized conspiracy theorists.
“The information put out by so-called ‘Newtown Truthers’ and other conspiracy theorists is disgusting and despicable. Their conduct and actions are not only an insult to our intelligence, but also hurtful to the people of Newtown and disrespectful to the families of the victims and the memories of their children. Reposting, or in any way furthering the legitimacy of these groups, is grossly irresponsible and equally wrong. Anyone who engages in such behavior owes the families of the victims and the people of Newtown an apology,” McKinney said.
Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. defended Dean’s right to express an opinion, but described it as “ill-thought and highly insensitive.”