SEATTLE — Seattle’s city council president has decided that the city will defend Councilmember Kshama Sawant in a defamation lawsuit brought against her by two city officers.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that in a letter Bruce Harrell explains his reasoning that Sawant “was speaking about issues important to her constituents.”

By city charter, Harrell had to decide if Sawant made the alleged statement “within the course and scope of employment.”

In the lawsuit, officers Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding claim they were defamed when Sawant falsely declared they had committed a “brutal murder” in last year’s fatal shooting of Che Taylor.

The city also is representing Sawant in a separate defamation lawsuit brought by a property-owner who took issue with Sawant referring to him as a “notorious slumlord.”

Assistant City Attorney Joe Groshong has said he wouldn’t be surprised if total litigation costs exceeded $300,000 in both lawsuits.