How does news of Smith's 1993 assault impact your vote?
PORTLAND -- Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith reacted Monday to a report he was cited by Eugene police in 1993 for misdemeanor assault involving a woman at an off-campus party.
The story was first reported by Willamette Week.
The accusation was dropped after Smith settled out of court with the woman. He was 20 and a sophomore at the University of Oregon. Smith's staff gave KGW a copy of the court document, called a Diversion Agreement, dated Sept. 2, 1994, which did not include any admission of guilt.
Smith was ordered to pay the woman's medical bills after she went to the emergency room and got stitches. He was also ordered to complete 20 hours of community service.
At the press conference Monday, Smith described the incident as a party situation where a woman came at him and he was trying to defend himself.
"It was a bad night. It was the worst night of my life," Smith said.
"Somebody I didn’t know was asleep on the couch. Somebody pushed her off. She came at me and started swinging at me. I tried to get her to stop," he said.
"My memory is I was seated on a couch. I tried to get her to stop and told her to stop. I held her wrists and she said, 'Let go of me.' I tried to push her away and obviously made contact with her, and there was an injury."
The woman got a cut that needed medical attention.
Smith said, if he had to do it over again, he probably would have let the woman keep coming at him.
He declined to name the woman. He told Willamette Week that he agreed to 20 hours of community service, apologized to her and paid her medical bills.
"Talking about it doesn't put anybody involved in a good light," he said.
Two people who were at the party told the newspaper that they had been subpoenaed to appear on the case, and both were ready to testify that the woman was at fault.
"If I were voting for the 20-year-old version of me, I probably wouldn't make that person Mayor of our city," said Smith. "But that's not who's running now."
When asked what he learned from the incident, Smith summarized by saying: "Nothing good happens after 11:30."
He said the mayoral campaign has been weighted toward the past, and he would like to move forward. But he did not blame his opponent for the story coming to light.
"What I do know is that there are some powerful interests wanting to take me down," he said. "What I don't know is any involvement of any other campaign."
In August, Smith publicly apologized after a report by The Oregonian documented numerous driving record infractions dating back to 1993, including having his driver's license suspended seven times. More: Smith apologizes for poor driving record
When asked about Smith's news, opponent Charlie Hales remained tight lipped.
"I really don't have comments or thoughts about the news conference," said Hales. "This is his issue and story - not mine."