clear
Friday February 12th, 2016 12:34AM

Trial in Ga. ethics commission lawsuit delayed

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- The upcoming trial in the lawsuit of a former state ethics commission employee who alleges retaliation for investigating complaints against Gov. Nathan Deal has been delayed for several weeks.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell granted a continuance Friday after hearing from attorney Edward Buckley, who represents Sherry Streicker, the commission's former deputy. Streicker claims her position was eliminated and her boss's salary reduced by 30 percent as they were seeking approval to issue subpoenas in the commission's investigation of Deal's 2010 campaign finance reports.

Commissioners have denied any wrongdoing.

Buckley said three key witnesses were unable to testify because of recent medical issues. In addition, Assistant Attorney General Bryan Webb, who is representing the commission, said he was scheduled for trial in a separate case next week. The judge indicated the Streicker trial would be pushed to April because of a busy court calendar next month.

In addition, Assistant Attorney General Kelly Campanella asked the judge to quash a subpoena calling the governor to testify at trial. Campanella said Deal doesn't have firsthand information pertaining to the case.

"He doesn't know anything about the elements of the claim. It's all secondhand knowledge," Campanella said. "He has nothing to add."

Streicker's attorneys plan to file a motion opposing the request, and the judge is expected to rule at a later date. Streicker's lawyers also have sent subpoenas to Deal's chief of staff, Chris Riley; his legal counsel, Ryan Teague; and his personal attorney, Randy Evans. Evans also filed a request with the court to quash his subpoena, according to Streicker's attorneys.

Streicker's lawsuit, along with one filed by her former boss, Stacey Kalberman, have included depositions of current and former commission employees as well as current and former commissioners. In the lawsuits, allegations have been made that the governor's office helped recruit Kalberman's replacement, Holly LaBerge, while Kalberman was still with the commission, and that LaBerge later claimed the governor "owes her" for taking care of his ethics complaints.

Deal has said he doesn't know LaBerge and doesn't owe her anything. He was cleared of major violations in the ethics probe and agreed to pay $3,350 in administrative fees. LaBerge has denied any wrongdoing.

A hearing in Kalberman's lawsuit is scheduled in Fulton County Superior Court on Feb. 14, when a trial date is likely to be set. Kalberman was among the three witnesses who were unavailable for trial next week. Buckley said Kalberman and former Commissioner Kent Alexander had recently had surgery, while the commission's former staff attorney, Elisabeth Murray-Obertein, had been hospitalized.

Commissioners terminated Murray-Obertein last month, nearly three weeks after a Georgia State Patrol trooper was called to the commission's office on a report of an intoxicated state employee. Her attorney, Brian J. Sutherland, said previously she was addressing a medical condition.

Sutherland declined further comment Friday.

Murray-Obertein was among two current and three former commission employees who received federal grand jury subpoenas seeking agency documents in the Deal matter. The scope of the federal inquiry isn't known, and federal prosecutors have declined comment. Deal's attorney has said the inquiry doesn't involve the governor.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night's Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barack Obama
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night's Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barac...
11:37PM ( 56 minutes ago )
South Hall wedding venue approved by county commissioners
The Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a 42 acre tract of land in South Hall as an agri-entertainment venue to house weddings and other gatherings at its voting session Thursday night at the Hall County Government Center.
10:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
Atlanta police officer shot and killed in incident just south of Hartsfield-Jackson airport
A police officer in suburban Atlanta was shot twice and killed Thursday by a suspect who was also wounded during a law enforcement operation, authorities said.
By The Associated Press
9:28PM ( 3 hours ago )
John Lewis to speak at Brenau, rescheduled for February 18
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a significant figure of the American civil rights movement, will appear for a public presentation at Brenau University’s Gainesville campus next week.
By AccessWDUN Staff
5:36PM ( 6 hours ago )
Officials investigate suspicious fire, third in less than a week in Barrow County
While investigators believe it was internationally set, they don't believe a fire in a vacant mobile home Wednesday night is related to two suspicious weekend fires.
2:30PM ( 10 hours ago )