AG’s office targets ethics director for failure to produce records

Attorney General Sam Olens’ office on Friday argued that ethics commission director Holly LaBerge alone is responsible for failing to turn over key records in her predecessor’s whisteblower lawsuit.

“The Department of Law should not be held responsible for the litigation choices of its opponents or the alleged discovery violations of its clients,” Edward Lindsey, acting as attorney for Olens’ office, said in court papers filed Friday.

Former ethics commission director Stacey Kalberman has asked a Fulton County judge to sanction and fine Olens' office, LaBerge and the ethics commission for failing to turn over evidence that showed top aides to Gov. Nathan Deal called and texted LaBerge in the weeks before the agency was to decide a series of complaints against him.

Kalberman claimed, and a Fulton County jury agreed, that she was forced from her job in 2011 for investigating Deal’s campaign and showed that a Deal aide recommended LaBerge for Kalberman’s job. The commission later dismissed major charges against the governor.

In response to the motion for sanctions, Lindsey said Olens’ staff, including Senior Assistant Attorney General Bryan Webb, who defended the commission against Kalberman’s lawsuit, acted accordingly.

Webb did not know that LaBerge had copies of texts from Deal Chief of Staff Chris Riley and chief counsel Ryan Teague, Lindsey said.

“Ms. LaBerge did not turn over to her attorneys all requested documents in this case despite instructions to do so,” Lindsey wrote.

If she had, Lindsey wrote, they would have been given to Kalberman’s attorneys.