Attorney General Raúl Labrador has assigned one of his deputies to take over a lawsuit against the State Board of Education.
Meanwhile, Labrador pushed back against State Board Executive Director Matt Freeman — and the allegation that Labrador sought out confidential information from Freeman before filing his lawsuit.
Labrador made the lineup change — and made his counterclaim — in court documents filed Tuesday, his deadline for assigning a new lawyer to the open meetings case.
On Aug. 25, District Judge Jason Scott disqualified Labrador from the lawsuit, saying he believed Labrador had received privileged information from Freeman during a June 20 telephone call.
Later on June 20, Labrador filed his lawsuit, saying the State Board had violated open meetings law by conducting a series of closed-door meetings to discuss the University of Idaho’s proposed purchase of the University of Phoenix.
In one of Tuesday’s court filings, Labrador offered his own account of the June 20 lawsuit. He described it as a “courtesy call,” and not an attempt to get Freeman to discuss the board’s closed meetings.
“He did not speak freely about anything,” Labrador wrote.
Labrador assigned the lawsuit to Alan Foutz, a deputy attorney general assigned to the state Department of Health and Welfare.
In his ruling, Scott barred Labrador from pursuing the lawsuit, ordering Labrador to find outside or in-house counsel to take up the case.
Foutz will be barred from discussing the case with Labrador, and several members of Labrador’s team. That list includes Theo Wold, Labrador’s solicitor general; Timothy Longfield, a deputy who had previously argued the case in court; and Jenifer Marcus, a deputy assigned to the State Board.
Labrador said the attorneys will not try to “lawyer this case from behind the scenes.”
More coverage: Idaho EdNews’ in-depth University of Phoenix interview, available in story and podcast form.