AG: Tarrant County Must Release Details About DA Sexual Harassment Claim
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Tarrant County has to release more details of a sexual harassment claim involving the District Attorney’s office and DA Joe Shannon. The Attorney General of Texas released the ruling Wednesday, after the county argued it should be allowed to keep certain details confidential.
In the 13-page ruling, AG Greg Abbott’s office says non-privileged emails about the claim, as well as an adequate summary of the entire investigation should be released.
In an e-mailed statement Shannon’s office said it had received the ruling, but not a detailed accounting of what could be released and what could be kept confidential. It has 30 days to release the information or appeal the decision.
The county settled a lawsuit with former assistant district attorney Sabrina Sabin in September. Sabin alleged she had been sexually harassed, followed by rumors and retaliation. The county paid her $300,000 the maximum amount allowed under state law. The county paid another $75,000 in attorney’s fees and more than $100,000 to outside law firms, in part to argue against the release of any details of the case.
In their arguments to the attorney general, attorneys said there was potentially embarrassing and intimate and personal information. The settlement demanded that Sabin give up photographs, diaries and notebooks.
Dallas attorney and former federal prosecutor Shirley Baccus-Lobel said Wednesday the ruling was complex and she expects the county will be very careful about how it proceeds.
“The bottom line is there are communications with the complainant or the complainant’s representatives which are not privileged and which they will have to disclose,” she said.
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