Judge considers release of documents, tapes in Muslim-discrimination case

By Peter H. Milliken



The unsealing of documents and audiotapes submitted as evidence in a lawsuit by an assistant city prosecutor, who alleged his boss and the city discriminated against him based on his Muslim faith, is now in the hands of a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Christopher A. Boyko received word late last week from Bassil Ally, the assistant prosecutor, saying Ally does not oppose public release of those materials.

The notice came in a one-sentence statement from Ally’s lawyer, Ronald D. Yarwood of Youngstown. Ally and Yarwood could not be reached to elaborate on their court filing.

However, as of late last week, transcripts of depositions and other documents in the court’s file in this case remained sealed from public view.

The judge has ordered the parties in the case to preserve all documents and evidence related to the case.

Last month, the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown asked Judge Boyko to unseal the documents and tapes in the lawsuit by Ally, who is of Middle Eastern descent, against the city and its prosecutor, Jay Macejko.

The Islamic Society said unsealing the documents and tapes will support its goal of promoting tolerance of the Muslim religion.

The sealing was agreed to by the parties in the lawsuit, which was settled last fall without a trial.

In the March 6 Democratic primary, Macejko is challenging Paul J. Gains, who is seeking a fifth four-year term as Mahoning County prosecutor.

In the settlement, Ally, who is a member of the Islamic Society, received a $110,000 lump sum and a $4,000 annual pay raise, boosting his annual salary to $65,621.

Macejko and the city have told the judge they don’t oppose the Islamic Society’s request, but they said they want the judge to conduct an oral hearing on the matter.

They said they want the judge to review the documents and tapes for confidential medical information about city employees or any other confidential materials that should stay sealed.

Macejko and the city said they would hand-deliver the recordings, and transcripts thereof, and the text messages referred to in the society’s request for the judge’s review.

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