Frenchko denies violating gag order | News, Sports, Jobs


YOUNGSTOWN — An attorney for Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko has filed a court document saying his client did not violate a gag order imposed by a federal judge in a lawsuit filed by an employee. from the commissioner’s office.

Dawn Guarino Gedeon lawsuit alleges Frenchko spoke out “Anti-Italian Prejudice and Bigotry” to her and “others of Italian origin.” Guarino Gedeon served as the commissioners’ receptionist for about 10 years until Oct. 25, 2021, according to court documents. At that time, she obtained a position as payroll secretary and receptionist.

During a July 18 case management conference before Judge Benita Pearson, an attorney for Guarino Gedeon mentioned a potential violation of the gag order Pearson had ordered in the case.

According to a filing by Frenchko’s attorney, Kathleen Minahan, filed July 25, the alleged violation related to a response by Frenchko to a voter’s social media post. The voter had asked for the names of the employees of the office of the commissioners who were suing Frenchko so that “the voter could send them a box of big girl panties”, the stated motion.

Before providing the names, the motion stated that Frenchko had told the voter that she “I can tell you who they are because it’s in the public domain, but I don’t tolerate anyone sending them anything at work…”

The motion states that the contents of Frenchko’s response did not violate the gag order. The document also argues that the alleged breach was not intentional on the commissioner’s part.

“She wanted to avoid a potential violation of the gag order and preemptively explained her reasoning as to why her disclosure did not violate the injunction,” indicates the defense motion.

Minahan also argues in the document that “The scope of the gag order is unconstitutionally vague and unenforceable.” It also violates the rights of parties to the First Amendment.

“Silencing Commissioner Frenchko is silencing the voters who voted for her,” the filing says the order also leaves her powerless to respond to public attacks on her reputation by other plaintiffs, witnesses, media and members of the public not bound by the judge’s order.

The filing specifically points out that Guarino Gedeon’s brother, David, twice ran unsuccessfully for Trumbull County Commissioner, most recently for the Democratic nomination won by Michael O’Brien in the Washington primary. may.

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Pearson has set September 20 as the deadline for parties to provide expert witness reports. The case has no trial date.

In an earlier response, Frenchko’s lawyer admits she made comments on social media “to the effect that Trumbull County employees are ‘goons’, ‘goons’ and ‘hacks’.” But this answer denied that Frenchko used derisive and derogatory terms when “referring to Italian-American Trumbull County employees”, including calling them “greasy” and other terms, or say that some county employees were “similar to Michael Corleone or Don Corleone from the movie ‘The Godfather’.”

A similar federal lawsuit against Frenchko and the other commissioners was filed July 6 in the Northern Ohio District Court by commissioners’ employee Lisa Denunzio Blair. That case was assigned to Judge John Adams and Magistrate Carmen Henderson, who set no time limit or federal docket hearing.

A lawsuit filed last December against Frenchko and the commissioners by employee Christine Glenn alleges age and ethnic discrimination. The last briefs of the two parties in this case were filed in May. Federal Judge Charles Fleming did not set a trial date for this action.

When contacted about the lawsuits, Frenchko did not comment on Gedeon’s lawsuit, citing the gag order. In response to the accusations made by Glenn, Frenchko said she did not use derogatory remarks towards Italian Americans.



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