Charges recycled

Nevada newspapers this week have been full of news about the unsealing of divorce papers in the case of Gibbons v. Gibbons.

Headlines like “Reno woman denies affair with Gibbons” and “Gibbons: Allegations of affairs have ‘no merit’” appeared over lurid stories drawn from the filings in the case of Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons.

As it happened, almost none of the material publicized was new. Most of it came from documents publicly released last year before it was filed in court. In the ensuing months, Gov. Gibbons fought so hard to keep the court file secret that when it was finally unsealed, the same information got a whole second airing in public. If he had agreed to disclosure in the first place, he would have experienced one firestorm instead of two.

The raciest bit of new information came in a document filed by the governor that sought to trivialize the first lady’s charges as coming from a woman scorned: “It was once said in another context that being in close quarters with such a volatile person was like being locked in a phone booth with an enraged ferret.” There goes the ferret owners’ vote.

The Las Vegas Sun contacted the guv’s attorney who said the comparison was drawn from language in Hunter Thompson’s legendary 1972 presidential campaign coverage for Rolling Stone: “It was not until this campaign collapsed and his ex-staffers felt free to talk that I learned that working for Big Ed [Muskie] was something like being locked in a rolling boxcar with a vicious 200-pound water rat.”

That doesn’t explain the ferret.