YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Mahoning County assistant prosecutor is getting a $550,000 payout from the county and its insurance company from a civil rights lawsuit.
The county admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, according to Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains, but agreed to pay Marty Desmond the money to resolve the litigation.
The settlement, however, did not include a gag order. Desmond is free to say whatever he wants — and he is talking.
Desmond filed a civil rights lawsuit against the county after he was fired and accused of not reporting a colleague’s wrongdoing and a pending lawsuit involving the county.
Desmond sat Thursday afternoon in the office of his Poland home and talked about being $550,000 richer.
“I’m thankful for it. It’s a life-changing amount. It’ll really help. I have four kids. We go through 8-10 gallons of milk a week,” said Desmond.
But Desmond also said it’s not all about the money. He wanted to clear his name after Gains — in an April 2017 news conference after firing Desmond — accused Desmond of discussing office activities and staff with outsiders.
“Discussing those internal matters with an attorney who has an adverse interest to his client, Mahoning County, is, in my opinion, despicable,” said Gains.
“What was said during that press conference about me was false and I wanted to show that. I wanted to prove that. I wanted to clear my reputation, and I wanted to show those things were not true, and I believe I’ve done that,” said Desmond.
Desmond said he also wanted to expose what was happening within the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office — and that he has done, too.
“There’s been a revelation that there’s an FBI investigation, or at least the FBI’s asking questions. There’s been revelations that prosecutors are invoking their fifth amendment right instead of testifying. There’s been revelations that prosecutors have lied to the court, have withheld evidence, have failed to turn over evidence. These are things that up until my lawsuit that people were afraid to talk about. They didn’t want it to be known,” said Desmond.
In a statement Thursday, Gains said the county denies Desmond’s claim that he was illegally fired. Gains said, “his discharge was a legitimate, non-discriminatory action.”
Todd Raskin, counsel for Mahoning County said, “There certainly is no admission of liability. It is an economic decision; we simply were able to get all the matters resolved for considerably less than the cost of going forward.”
During the interview, Desmond went through cases, naming names, where he thought something illegal took place within the Prosecutor’s office. He plans to hold a news conference to detail what he knows possibly as early as next week.
The county’s insurance provider will pay two-thirds of the settlement and the county will pay one-third.