Judge denies county’s attempt to dismiss claims in Desmond lawsuit


A visiting judge denied a motion by attorneys representing the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office to dismiss counts in a lawsuit filed by a former assistant prosecutor.

Martin Desmond filed the lawsuit against county Prosecutor Paul Gains in March. It accuses Gains of defamation, intimidation and civil liability for criminal acts in connection with Desmond’s firing.

The motion, filed by the county’s attorneys, sought to dismiss 18 counts in the lawsuit and argued that Desmond couldn’t file a civil suit seeking damages for violations of a criminal statute without a prior criminal conviction or plea.

Judge H.F. Inderlied Jr. disagreed in a ruling issued this week.

The case is one of several Desmond actions open before Judge Inderlied.

Desmond has also appealed a decision by the State Personnel Board of Review that denied him whistleblower status, and he filed a petition to release grand jury transcipts he alleges will expose a pattern of misconduct by county prosecutors.

In April 2017, Gains said Desmond violated office policy by discussing a matter that no longer involved him with people outside the office, including a lawyer who sued the county in federal court.

Desmond alleges that Gains fired him for his attempts to expose misconduct within the prosecutor’s office.

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