MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It all started because of a Facebook post.
News 8 was the only camera in the courtroom when a Superior Court judge threw out a civil case against State Representative Liz Linehan.
A Southington voter was seeking a restraining order against the lawmaker for alleged stalking.
Separated by plexiglass inside Meriden Superior Court, Linehan and her accuser sat less than 20 feet from one another. Judge Mark Gould asked Colleen Dabkowski the following question:
“Can you tell me the last time the respondent allegedly did something where you felt you were in physical danger, the danger of being stalked or coercive control?”
Dabkowski of Southington said on May 18, at a yoga studio. Dabkowski had been posting about Linehan online.
“She came up to me. She confronted me. She intimidated me and insinuated she could get me fired because she spends a lot of money there,” Dabkowski answered.
The judge asked if she felt in physical danger and Dabkowski responded that she did not. The judge asked “did you feel she was stalking you?” and Dabkowski answered yes.
Linehan’s attorney then asked questions, revealing the two women do not live in the same legislative district and Dabkowski has sought candidates to run against Linehan.
Under oath, Dabkowski also denied ever writing an “unkind personal or verbal assault against Linehan.”
But Linehan’s attorney uncovered a number of Facebook posts likening the lawmaker to a Nazi in response to showing a vaccine passport.
In a post obtained by News 8, under the alias Colleen Mary, Dabkowski calls Linehan a “brown shirt,” a reference to Hitler’s stormtroopers.
Attorney Robert Burke asked, “And it’s your understanding “brown shirt” is a reference to Nazis? Dabkowski answered, “I do understand the reference.”
Less than 10 minutes later, the judge denied the request, throwing the case out.
In a statement to News 8, Linehan said the following: “It’s unfortunate that we were here today and that the judicial system, intended to protect and support victims of domestic abuse and harassment has been used in this way. Politics can be ugly, but we should never let it get this low.”
Dabkowski said she respects the judge’s ruling, but doubled down on her actions.
“We don’t have to like their policies, that’s America,” Dabkowski said.
She waited with her own video crew that followed the lawmaker outside of court and streamed commentary to followers.
Linehan will hit the campaign trail. She is up for re-election in November.