Former State Bar employees must answer questions about Tom Girardi, judge rules
One year after former State Bar employees filed a lawsuit to ask for their stories of Tom Girardi, the former Florida Supreme Court judge and former U.S. Attorney, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has ruled that the state’s former employees are permitted to provide the story behind the judge who became an outspoken critic of Florida’s immigration system.
During a lengthy hearing Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that former State Bar employees in Florida may go public with their story of Girardi. Walker’s ruling came just a day after the former employees filed legal papers that asked for details about Girardi. But Walker did not allow any former court employees to speak on the record at the hearing.
Instead, his ruling noted that former State Bar employees can go on the record, but only to ask a judge to let them provide those details. At the end of the hearing, attorneys for the former employees said they would ask the judge for permission to proceed with the litigation.
Walker’s decision Friday was the first time in Florida history that a judge has allowed the public to hear evidence on a former government employee’s allegations of wrongdoing. Under Florida law, Walker can allow the former employees to get their stories out while limiting their ability to answer direct questions about Girardi.
Former State Bar employees at the hearing Friday had a long list of allegations against Girardi, including allegations of ethics violations and ethical violations. The attorneys representing former State Bar employees asked Walker to allow the former employees to tell their stories in public.
An attorney representing the Florida Bar asked Walker not to allow former State Bar employees to attend the hearing Friday. However, a Bar attorney said Friday afternoon that he and the Bar’s general counsel had already agreed not to oppose Walker’s decision Friday afternoon.
The lawyers representing former State Bar employees said they expect to pursue the matter further in civil court. However, under Florida law, Walker can not allow evidence that can be obtained only in a civil court to be presented at a civil trial. Walker’s decision only allows evidence from the former employees to be presented in a civil court.
“We are pleased