Judge denies motion to delay sexual harassment case surrounding NC Democratic Party
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RALEIGH-- A Wake County judge denied the defense's motion to stay discovery until after the November election in the court case surrounding the sexual harassment scandal within the state's Democratic party.
Now, attorneys for both sides can continue investigating former staffer Adrian Ortega's accusation of sexual harassment by the party's former executive director Jay Parmley. Ortega is suing party chairman David Parker and the Democratic party for defamation and violating a settlement agreement.
Parker's attorney Craig Tierney wanted the judge to grant a motion preventing both sides from handing over evidence in the case until after Nov. 6 because he's concerned about all the negative attention this case could bring to the party.
"Take it out of the public view and then after the election, there's no politically charged atmosphere and this case will just go on. There's no prejudice to Mr. Ortega," Tierney told Hon. Howard Manning during court Monday afternoon.
Ortega's attorney Kieran Shanahan said the sexual harassment scandal is taking a toll on his client, who has not been able to find work since he was let go from his job the Democratic party.
"Bottom line judge, they are a political organization, that's where the rough and tumble is," he said. "We believe in public trials, we we need to have a public trial, than so be it. Mr. Ortega is one individual who's lost his job, who can't get in job."
The lawsuit centers around comments Parker made at an April press conference. He argued against Ortega's accusations of harassment by former executive director Parmley. Ortega claims Parker knowingly made false and defamatory statements about him and violated their confidential settlement agreement.
Manning is requiring both sides to turn over evidence in late September. The judge told attorneys not to disclose the materials they receive to the public and to avoid talking about the case outside the courtroom.