The closing days of a GOP primary race for state Senate between state Rep. Brian Nieves and Washington mayor Richard Stratman in Missouri got especially heated and ugly — but accusations that Nieves committed adultery and paid alleged rapist Rod Jetton as a campaign consultant were nothing compared to what has happened since election day. Nieves, now the GOP nominee, stands accused of physically assaulting Stratman’s campaign manager, Shawn Bell, threatening him with a gun, forcing him to strip and threatening the manager’s boss.
Bell is seeking a restraining order; Nieves denies the allegations.
Shawn Bell filed his complaint with Washington, Missouri police on August 5, 2010 — two days after the primary — claiming that Nieves had first assaulted and the threatened him. (Read the full complaint here.)
Bell alleges that, on his way home to Jefferson City on August 4th, he happened by Nieves’ campaign office and noticed the car of Nieves’ campaign treasurer, Dave Bailey, parked outside. Not seeing Nieves car, Bell told police he decided to stop to congratulate Bailey. But no sooner did he offer his congratulations to Bailey than he was surprised by Nieves. Bell says that Nieves called him a “little fuck” threw him across the room as Bailey closed the blinds. When Bell reminded him that they both were Republicans, he got an unexpected response.
He then pulled out a black gun out [sic] of his pocket and made sure that I saw it and set it on a table. He told me he was going to kill me. I began to curl up into a ball and break down in fear and was yelling for help. He asked if I was wearing a wire and I told him NO; that I didn’t come to bring harm. He felt my chest, stomach and back to feel for a wire. He was still yelling at me and saying how back he was going to fuck me up. He head butted me on my forehead and It hurt but it wasn’t full power. I have had a headache ever since. He also slapped me across the face several times (at least twice, maybe more) but also not to his full potential He then drug [sic] me into the next room that appeared to be a kitchen area with a fridge, tile floor, and a sink. He still insinuated that I had a wire and made me take off my shirt.
After that, Bell says Nieves mocked his weight and then forced him first to get on his knees to beg forgiveness and then to lie on the floor.
As I was laying down looking up at him, he began to talk about when he was in the Navy. He asked me if I had ever had the absolute shit kicked out of me and I told him no. He asked if I had ever been in a fight and I told him once when in college. He said that he grew up in the projects and that “niggers” used to jump him and kick and beat the shit out of him relentless. He said everyone needs a theaurapeutic [sic] ass kicking in their life and that he was about to give me one.
Bell said that Nieves told him Bailey wouldn’t back him up in court, told him he was sick of looking at his chest and allowed him to get dressed. Nieves then reportedly told Bell to come into his office, where he demanded to know whether Bell had been the opposition researcher behind some of the allegations during the campaign. Bell told police he denied it, but that Nieves then went through the text messages in his phone and began writing some of them down, and then accused Bell of “flipping off [Nieves’] family while they were in the car on Sunday.” When Bell denied it, Nieves accused him of calling Nieves’ family liars. Then Nieves reportedly threatened Bell’s boss James Harris, and told Bell that Harris was the adulterer. Finally, Nieves demanded that Bell apologize to Nieves’ wife over the phone. After the phone call finished, Bell said Nieves asked for explanations of who certain people in Bell’s phone were and said, if Bell lied, “he would fuck me up like the little pussy bitch I am.” Nieves reportedly discovered Bell had asked people to “mess with” Nieves’ Faebook page or call into his radio show as part of the campaign.
Bell told police that Nieves eventually calmed down and let him go after Bell promised not to tell anyone; after returning to retrieve his sunglasses, Bell went back to Jefferson Cit yand told his boss, Harris, who told him to write up the account; as he was doing so, Harris asked him to come to his house and have a conversation with a lawyer. After that conversation, and one with his parents, Bell decided to file the complaint and pursue a restraining order.
But why was Nieves so mad? About a week before the primary, someone going by the name “John Frank” began circulating an email in Missouri political circles alleging that Nieves had engaged in multiple affairs with “porn industry lobbyists” and hired former House Speaker Rod Jetton, currently awaiting trial on sexual assault charges, as a campaign consultant. (Read the email here.) While the email was largely ignored by the media, it did apparently get circulated among enough individuals to prompt an email response from Nieves.
After asking his supporters to pray for him and call their friends and family on his behalf, Nieves explained that the allegations were untrue, and that he believed they came from a “High Priced, Politically Powerful Consultant from out of town” working for his opponent Dick Stratman.Notably, Stratman’s financial disclosure from July 15 lists one high-priced, out-of-town campaign consultant: the J.Harris Company made just over $10,500 for “management services” — and one of J. Harris Company’s associates is Shawn Bell.
Nieves later responded to Bell’s allegations in a typically long email to supporters. In it, he thanks supporters for their prayers and talks about the advice from his lawyers not to speak to the press — which he then proceeds to disregard to then explain that he believes the Stratman campaign issued the allegations in order to upset Nieves and his family because they upset “the machine” with their Senate primary win. Nieves, who was the Missouri state House Majority Whip, believes that his participation in the tea party movement sparked the primary competition from the reportedly more mainstream Stratman.