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Judge sanctions GOP-paid law firm

A federal judge has sanctioned an Ohio law firm for its conduct during a long-running legal fight

By JULIE CARR SMYTH Associated Press Published: June 14, 2017 4:00 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge sanctioned an Ohio law firm on Tuesday for conduct during a long-running legal fight alleging efforts by Republicans to help Gov. John Kasich's chances in the 2014 election.

In a sharply worded opinion, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Terence Kemp ordered Zeiger, Tigges & Little to pay $1,500 in connection with two subpoenas the firm served on lawyers for the Libertarian Party of Ohio in a lawsuit the party lost last year.

The money would cover Libertarians' legal costs in fighting the subpoenas. A message was left seeking comment from the firm, which has 14 days to appeal.

Kemp said he had never seen such an extreme step as subpoenas taken on an "otherwise routine" matter in his 30 years on the bench. He said it appeared to have less to do with the stated legal goal of obtaining documents and "more to do with attempting to badger or intimidate" opposing counsel.

The unsuccessful lawsuit alleged Ohio's elections chief and a Libertarian voter, Gregory Felsoci, schemed to selectively enforce election law in order to disqualify 2014 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl. At the time, Earl's candidacy was viewed as potentially drawing votes away from Kasich.

The Zeiger firm was hired to represent Felsoci by a Republican consultant, Terry Casey, whose legal bills in the case were revealed to have been paid by the Ohio Republican Party.

Kemp wrote that he inferred from the way the case rolled out that Casey had instructed his legal team "to resist and delay" Libertarians' efforts to make their case. They suspected, "rightly, as it turned out," Kemp wrote, that there was some connection between Felsoci's protest and people interested in Kasich's success.


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