New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - NEWS/FROM THE FRONT PAGE -

at­tor­ney Rachel Baird, who is rep­re­sent­ing plain­tiff Kyle Mur­phy in the law­suit.

“By the com­mon prac­tice of East Haven to extort un­law­ful fees in ex­change for pro­vid­ing sub­poe­naed of­fi­cers and fire­fight­ers to tes­tify,” the 14th Amend­ment rights of Mur­phy and oth­ers have been vi­o­lated, Baird al­leges in the com­plaint.

Maturo and Town At­tor­ney Joseph Zullo, who is listed as a de­fen­dant in the law­suit, were not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment Fri­day af­ter­noon. Zullo an­nounced his bid for the 99th Dis­trict House seat Fri­day .

Mur­phy was ar­rested on Dec. 14, 2015, on a charge of fail­ure to sur­ren­der firearms af­ter an ex parte civil re­strain­ing or­der in Maine, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit. When he was re­leased on bail on Dec. 25 that year, the East Haven Po­lice Depart­ment is­sued an emer­gency re­strain­ing or­der for Mur­phy to sur­ren­der his guns.

At his ar­raign­ment, Mur­phy asked for an ev­i­den­tiary hear­ing to chal­lenge the pro­tec­tive or­der and sub­poe­naed East Haven po­lice of­fi­cers Stephen Paulsen and Ker­shen Bis­sette to tes­tify at Su­pe­rior Court in New Haven on Jan. 12, 2016.

In re­sponse the the sub­poe­nas, Kolb said in an email to Baird that Mur­phy must pay for the at­ten­dance of the of­fi­cers. The email said it would cost $384 for a min­i­mum of five hours of an in­di­vid­ual sergeant or of­fi­cer’s time. It also priced the use of a ve­hi­cle for the of­fi­cers at $20 per hour for a min­i­mum of five hours and re­port copies at $15 a piece.

The email cor­re­spon­dence copied Maturo, Zullo, thenPo­lice Chief Brent Larrabee, then-Deputy Chief Ed Len­non, Lt. David Emer­man and town ad­min­is­tra­tor Frank Gen­tile­sco, court doc­u­ments show. They are all listed as de­fen­dants in the law­suit.

Mur­phy told Kolb his de­mand for pay­ment vi­o­lated the law, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

“Not less than two months ear­lier, in Luiz Rivera v. Vin­cent Nuzzo,...[a judge] ruled that the fees de­manded by East Haven for sub­poe­naed of­fi­cers to tes­tify and pro­duce doc­u­ments...were con­tra­dicted by [state statute] and un­sup­ported by case and statu­tory law,” the law­suit says. “Re­gard­less of state statute and a de­ci­sion ren­dered by a state court judge, East Haven con­tin­ued its at­tempts to extort money from in­di­vid­u­als such as [Mur­phy] who pos­sessed statu­tory and con­sti­tu­tional rights to sub­poena po­lice of­fi­cers to tes­tify in crim­i­nal court hear­ings.”

The hear­ing did not pro­ceed, as the crim­i­nal case against Mur­phy was dis­missed Jan. 12, 2016.

To demon­strate his un­der­stand­ing of the law, the fed­eral com­plaint in­cludes a piece of tes­ti­mony Kolb sub­mit­ted in 2017 in sup­port of a failed bill that would have re­quired pay­ment from par­ties is­su­ing sub­poe­nas for tes­ti­monies from mu­nic­i­pal work­ers .

“At­tor­ney Kolb omit­ted from his tes­ti­mony on

March 6, 2017, that East Haven through Mayor Maturo, At­tor­ney Zullo, Chief Larrabee, Deputy Chief Len­non, Sgt. Emer­man and Frank Gen­tile­sco al­ready had been de­mand­ing un­law­ful and ex­tor­tion­ate fees in ex­change for the sub­poe­naed tes­ti­mony of East Haven po­lice of­fi­cers and fire­fight­ers in crim­i­nal cases as well as civil cases con­trary to statu­tory law and in vi­o­la­tion of the rights guar­an­teed un­der the due process clause of the 14th amend­ment to the United States con­sti­tu­tion,” the com­plaint says.

The law­suit de­mands a jury trial and is seek­ing com­pen­satory dam­ages, puni­tive dam­ages, at­tor­ney’s fees and “other such relief as the claims merit.”

Maturo re­cently came un­der fire by some town elected of­fi­cials and res­i­dents for us­ing tax­payer money to de­fend him­self in le­gal bat­tles.

In Septem­ber, Maturo and the town set­tled a sex­ual ha­rass­ment case for

$175,000. Dur­ing the years­long le­gal bat­tle, the town spent an ad­di­tional $171,000 in le­gal fees to de­fend the mayor. Maturo de­nies any wrong­do­ing in that case.

In Novem­ber, Maturo and the town were sued be­cause the mayor al­legedly crashed his town-is­sued car early this year and caused thou­sands of dol­lars in dam­age due to “neg­li­gence and care­less­ness.”

The law­suit is seek­ing a pay­ment of more than $15,000 from Maturo and the town.

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