Cleveland, OH – A congresswoman who had been poised to take a run at U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California) for Speaker of the House dropped out of the running on Tuesday, after having to explain her prior support for an alleged murderer.
U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) wrote a letter of support on behalf of her good friend, disgraced former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason, after he was charged with domestic violence in 2014, WJW reported.
Prosecutors said Mason punched and choked his then-wife Aisha Fraser in front of their two children in that incident.
The former judge pleaded guilty to domestic violence and attempted felonious assault, and was sentenced to two years in prison, WJW reported.
Prior to his sentencing, Fudge sent a letter of support for her friend to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.
The congresswoman called Mason "a good man who made a very bad mistake."
"Most assuredly, I am deeply saddened and disappointed at where we find ourselves today. The behavior Lance displayed on August 2, 2014, is out of character and totally contrary to everything I know about him," Fudge wrote in the letter dated Aug. 9, 2015, according to WJW.
"The Lance T. Mason I know is a kind, intelligent man and loyal friend. The Lance T. Mason I know is an advocate for the people of this community,” she told the court.
“Lance accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again,” Fudge wrote in the letter.
Mason ended up serving only nine months of his sentence behind bars.
Fast-forward to 2018 and now Mason is being held without bond in the murder of his now ex-wife, according to WJW.
Police responded to a call about a domestic incident at a house on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights on Saturday morning.
When police arrived, Mason attempted to flee, and rammed his SUV into a police cruiser, injuring the officer, WJW reported.
Court documents said Mason was driving “fast enough to cause multiple airbag deployments and disabling damage to both vehicles."
Fraser, his ex-wife, was found in the driveway stabbed to death, police said.
She was a sixth grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School, according to WJW.
Mason, 51, was arrested and charged with felonious assault initially. Prosecutors later added a charge of murder and warned there would likely be additional charges filed against the former jurist.
Fudge, who helped Mason get a lesser sentence after he pleaded guilty to attacking Fraser in 2014, was quick to try and distance herself from the murder.
“My heart breaks for Aisha Fraser. I pray for Aisha’s family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy,” Fudge wrote in a statement she released on Tuesday.
“My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years. The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me,” the congresswoman continued. “They were horrific crimes, and I condemn them. I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss.”
After releasing her statement of condolence, the former chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus announced she would not be challenging Pelosi for her leadership position, PBS reported.