OCALA, Fla., September 17, 2013 — George Zimmerman’s highly controversial prosecutor, Angela Corey, is now under state investigation for firing Ben Kruidbos, the Jacksonville Times-Union reports.
“Kruidbos received a letter from the Florida Commission on Ethics earlier this week saying the investigation was occurring,” the T-U’s Larry Hannan wrote last week. “Investigator Specialist Kathleen Mann, who sent the letter, declined to comment on the investigation when contacted by the Times-Union on Friday.”
Kruidbos was the information technology director in Corey’s office until earlier this summer.
“Mr. Kruidbos was the victim of retaliatory action by the SAO … when he was terminated from employment,” his attorney, Wesley White, claimed in a formal complaint with the Florida Human Relations Commission.
“Mr. Kruidbos was terminated for having testified (pursuant to a subpoena) before the circuit court in and for Seminole County … on June 6, 2013,” he continued. “The nature of his testimony related to the possible knowing violation, by the State of Florida (the SAO), of its reciprocal discovery obligations … in a criminal prosecution. Such a violation falls within the inherent authority of the circuit court to sanction the conduct and actions of parties and attorneys before the court.
“The letter terminating Mr. Kruidbos makes explicit reference to his testimony of June 6th … Prior to his testimony, he was a well-regarded employee, recently received a raise, and was considered a ‘friend’ by the State Attorney. But for his testimony he would still be employed.”
What the State Attorney’s Office discovered was data on Trayvon Martin’s cellular phone which, if turned over to Zimmerman’s lawyers, might have raised questions about the fatally shot seventeen-year-old’s dubious activities.
Kruidbos is suing Corey for roughly $5 million on the basis of wrongful termination. White is a former prosecutor under Corey. He resigned in disgust with her policies late last year.
Despite this, he told The Washington Times Communities that his “focus is on Ben…My present concern is her posting of Ben’s termination letter on the SAO’s website which is a fairly definitive display of unbridled rage.
“Sadly and unfortunately her spite is merely racking up more damages. Not surprisingly, Corey’s family and friends have been blogging anonymously, attacking Ben, and trying to push her narrative without risking the probing questions of (journalists).”
Corey is no stranger to controversy. Before being elected Metro Jacksonville’s top prosecutor, she was fired from the State Attorney’s office by her predecessor, Harry Shorstein.
“We have law school interns in the office,” Shorstein recently explained to The Washington Times Communities. “When they leave we critique them and when they return to law school, they are critiqued by the professor who oversees their end. One of the interns reported Corey was abusive, profane, unprofessional, etc. The school called us, I reprimanded Corey.
“Then, Corey called the school and told the Dean the professor should be disciplined for reporting her misconduct, the school called me, I told Corey that was unacceptable and she must apologize to the Dean and the professor.
“Corey refused my direct order. Then she was given another chance, she refused and was fired.”
Robert Zimmerman, George’s older brother and de facto spokesman, is particularly concerned about the Kruidbos firing. In July, he told TWTC that “any state attorney can select the members of their staff, and that includes firing people who they think may have acted inappropriately.
“I do question the circumstances in this situation. I think Mr. Kruidbos was diligent in hiring an attorney. The way I understand it, he was afraid that he might face criminal liability if he was an unwilling accomplice in a discovery violation.
“It’s my understanding now that Mr. Kruidbos has filed suit. Obviously, that means he disagrees with Mrs. Corey’s decision. I’m concerned that other people like him, now or in the future, who are doing what they believe is ethical, might incur the wrath of vengeance.”
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