Speed Reads

So goes Maine

Maine Gov. Paul LePage denies talking about 'hanging' state Democratic leaders

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is denying allegations that, during a series of meetings he held with far-right "Sovereign Citizen" activists — a set of groups considered by the FBI to be a domestic terrorist movement — they reportedly mused together about arresting the Democratic leaders of the state legislature and hanging them for treason.

"I was never in the room where 'execute' was used," LePage told the Bangor Daily News. "It never happened," he later added. "We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging."

The allegations are laid out in an upcoming book by liberal blogger Mike Tipping, As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine, an excerpt of which was first published on Talking Points Memo. The story was retold by one of the Sovereign Citizen activists in the meeting, Jack McCarthy:

When discussing Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves, both Democrats, McCarthy apparently claimed that they were guilty of "high treason" and noted that the penalty for treason hadn't changed in a hundred years.

"I never said it, but the governor said it. I never opened my mouth and said the word," explained McCarthy. "The governor looked at us and looked at his buddy and said, 'They're talking about hanging them.'" (The "buddy" was apparently a member of LePage's legal staff.)