Claremore Daily Progress

Top Stories

October 18, 2013

Citizens who circulated petition uneasy

DA expected to add 25 more to libel lawsuit

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County citizens who helped circulate the court-rejected  grand jury petition to investigate the district attorney’s office  were on edge Thursday, potential  targets of a defamation lawsuit against sponsors of the petition campaign.
District Attorney Janice Steidley and two of her top assistants listed 25 unnamed defendants under the placeholder name “John Doe” in the prosecutors’ libel suit filed Wednesday, one day after a judge tossed out the petition and its 6,994 registered voter signatures on the technical ground the signature pages included unauthorized wording.
The suit said the identity of the anonymous defendants would  be revealed during the discovery phase of the legal action as residents of the county “who created, drafted, circulated, or otherwise republished” petition allegations of criminal and civil misconduct by DA Steidley and her assistants.
“It is my understanding that anyone who had a petition and gathered signatures could be a target,” said businessman Myron Grubowski, a sponsor of the grand jury petition.  “Our friends, neighbors and co-workers have all become a target of this lawsuit.  It is unfortunate to see the legal system used against the people it was designed to protect.”
Grubowski was named as a defendant in the suit, which seeks financial damages that could exceed $500,000, along with the five other petition sponsors: Sheriff Scott Walton, Claremore police officers John Singer and Steve Cox, businessman Russell Guilfoyle, and Billy D. Jones, father of two rape victims. 
The suit, which seeks a jury trial, contends the leaders of the petition drive maliciously and wrongly accused the district attorney and her assistants of corruption and criminal and civil misconduct.
Sheriff Walton said he was informed of the defamation lawsuit by a Tulsa television station, News on 6, before he was served with a formal notice of the complaint against him. The station apparently received a copy of the suit before it was made available to the defendants or the public.

Text Only
Top Stories
Poll

Do you prefer the warm summer weather of 2013 or the mild rainy weather we are currently experiencing?

Hot/Dry Summer
Mild/Wet Summer
I prefer any season but Summer.
I don't have an opinion.
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN