It began as a campaign of disruption. It ended in a campaign of death. Divine Fury.

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A VG Serial: Divine Fury

Chapter 76

CHAPMAN LINKED TO BLOUNT SHOOTER

By Enzo Lee
News Staff Writer

An aide to Republican gubernatorial candidate George Chapman had extensive contacts with Brent Daggart, the accused killer of San Francisco gay activist and political consultant Harry Blount and the alleged mastermind behind a political spying plot that led to the shooting death of another man in April.

In a series of email messages between Daggart and William S. Nash, a top aide in Chapman’s Congressional office, the pair extensively discussed strategy for Chapman’s run for governor and Daggart shared information apparently obtained from the spying operation into Democrat Andrew Harper’s gubernatorial campaign.

Chapman denied any personal involvement with Daggart and his activities.  He said yesterday that Nash had been fired for “pursuing wholly inappropriate activities without my knowledge or authorization.” Nash was unavailable for comment.

The News obtained copies of the emails from an anonymous source.  Law enforcement officials investigating the murders of Blount and Scott Truman confirmed the authenticity of the messages under the condition that they not be identified.  Truman, a San Francisco public health analyst, is believed to have been killed when he interrupted a clandestine computer spying operation.

In the email messages, Daggart mentions a “campaign of disruption” targeting Harper’s bid for governor.  He also claims responsibility for getting two initiatives on the November ballot concerning the rights of gays and lesbians to form civil unions and adopt children which he describes as having “little importance other than to remind voters that Harper is, above all, an affront to God and a threat to their families…”  

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In the aftermath of the attacks at the Pride Parade and Trinity Cathedral, both the Harper and Chapman campaigns had declared a 30-day moratorium on politicking.  Chapman and his campaign adamantly denied any connection to or knowledge of either the Pride Parade or the Trinity Cathedral attacks.  But the media search began immediately for ties between the Republican Congressman and Soldiers of Christ Ministry.

The trove of email that had arrived in Lee’s in-box anonymously was traced back to an unemployed 25-year-old woman named Karen Volpe who lived in a luxury condo in Alexandria, Virginia.  She refused to say where she had obtained them.  The manager of her condo complex said he believed Ms. Volpe had recently returned from a vacation in Costa Rica.

Lee promised Connors that he wouldn’t publicly identify her if she would match the emails to the stored backups from Soldiers of Christ Ministry as a way to prove they were genuine.  In the end, she told him to go ahead and use her name if it was necessary to get the story into the newspaper.  She was beyond caring about the possible job repercussions.

Hours after Lee’s story ran, political commentators were questioning whether Chapman would withdraw from the race.  Politicians from Washington D.C. to Calexico called for an investigation into possible crimes ranging from aiding and abetting murder to violation of campaign finance laws.

Connors told Lee that prosecutors had agreed to accept a 25-year prison term for Oscar Wilkins, the computer programmer, in exchange for his cooperation in the investigations of Scott Truman’s murder and the computer spying operation.  He probably would serve at least 14 years before being released.  The Chicago triggerman was trying to negotiate a life sentence to avoid facing the death penalty.

Rev. Jimmy Burgess and the Soldiers of Christ Ministry probably would plead guilty to multiple counts of violating California campaign finance laws, said Connors.  Prosecutors were dubious that Burgess or the church could be prosecuted for the many criminal violations committed by Brent Daggart, including the sabotage of Harper’s campaign, because there was no evidence anyone other than Daggart knew about them.  The IRS was investigating whether the church’s political activities were sufficient to strip it of its tax-free status, a potentially devastating blow to the ministry.

As to Daggart, Connors said he was under a suicide watch and had refused to talk to anyone, including his court-appointed lawyers.  In addition to Blount’s murder, the police were connecting him to the Pride Parade attacks.  Bomb and gun parts found in the hotel room he and Walberg had shared were covered with Daggart’s fingerprints.

They weren’t having any luck yet tracking down the Terminator.  But Connors was tenacious and had the memory of an elephant.  Plus, there was no statute of limitation on Scott Truman’s murder.  She knew sooner or later she would find him.

Lee received an email from Sonia Moretti in Australia.  It was just a ‘hello,’ plus she was letting him know she had been offered a permanent job in Australia and had accepted it.  She didn’t say anything about Scott Truman but Lee took it as a good sign that she was moving ahead with her life.  Maybe avoiding San Francisco for a while was good for her.

 

Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

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