At 25, he won election as county prosecutor. It looked as though his political future was dead after he lost a notorious case. It didn’t help that he was romantically involved with the accused’s mistress. Then opportunity knocked and Walgren quickly re-climbed the political ladder. By 1975 he was Senate majority leader. Five years later, he was clearly ticketed for statewide office, attorney general and then, who knows? It all came undone as a result of Gamscam, an FBI sting that ensnared Walgren, the speaker of the house and a lobbyist. Charged with racketeering, he was accused of conspiring with men they believed were mobsters to loosen state gambling laws. The case against Walgren was the thinnest, but a jury convicted him, spending two years in a federal prison. He never admitted guilt and never stopped fighting to clear his name.
~ Adele Ferguson, former Bremerton Sun columnist
“As I once noted, Gordon Walgren flies close to the flame. His door is always open to talk to the famous and the infamous, the safe and the suspicious. As his life story makes evident, Gordon Walgren maintained the trust and loyalty of multitudes.”
~ Ronald Bright, retired special agent, US Naval Criminal Investigative Service
“For the first time, former state Senate majority leader Gordon Walgren details the extraordinary FBI zeal in fabricating the “sting” that sent him to prison and ended his promising political career. It is a tale of conviction, courage and redemption.”
~ Rick Jensen, retired deputy chief, Washington State Patrol
“I first met Gordon Walgren 30 years ago and during that time he has been a mentor, colleague, business partner, and, most of all, a loyal and beloved friend. We have reflected, laughed and cried together. Gordon enjoys life and lives it well. For me he is an inspiration for personal and professional success.”
~ Thomas Chambers, former state Supreme Court justice
“Gordon Walgren has held my admiration not only for his service but for his steadfast commitment to and defense of the little guy. It has not always been easy. It has taken courage. You make me proude to be a lawyer.”
Perfect bound, 300 pages, includes many photographs and interviews
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Gordon and Peter appear on TVW's Inside Olympia with host Austin Jenkins to talk about Close to the Flame.
Peter's 29-year career with the Seattle Times included coverage of cops, courts, politics, personal technology and consumer affairs. He first met Gordon Walgren in January 2012. They were introduced by John Hughes, chief oral historian for the Washington Secretary of State's office. This is Lewis’ first book.