City subpoenas Metro Council President David Yates to testify in LMPD Explorer lawsuit Friday
In a phone interview, Yates said he has not decided whether to fight the subpoena, saying he will do what "is in the best interest" of his client.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department have sent a subpoena to attorney David Yates requiring him to testify Friday in a hearing on whether a judge should disqualify Yates from representing an alleged victim in the LMPD Explorer program sex abuse lawsuit.
County Attorney Mike O'Connell notified all parties in the case Tuesday that the city intends to put Yates on the stand to testify as to whether he has conflict of interest in the case given his role as Metro Council President.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Yates said he has not decided whether to fight the subpoena, saying he will do what "is in the best interest" of his client.
But he called the subpoena an "abusive litigation tactic" that he has never before encountered as an attorney and said he plans to file a response as soon as possible.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman is supposed to hear arguments in the case Friday, but a legal fight over whether Yates must testify could delay the hearing.
The victim in the case, identified only as "N.C." claims former Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood sexually abused him while he was a teen in the department's youth Explorer program between 2011 and 2013.
In addition, police officials are accused of concealing evidence of the conduct by intimidation, destruction of evidence, deletion of information and refusal to comply with the Kentucky Open Records Act, as well as conspiracy to cover up the wrongdoing, according to the suit.
N.C. is suing Metro government, the police department, Wood, Betts, Maj. Curtis Flaherty and the Boy Scouts of America.
O'Connell claims Yates reached out to the alleged victim through Facebook, offering his legal services and making reference to his “unique position” and role on the council, according to the filing.
In a previous interview, Yates said he was "absolutely in no way inferring" to his role on the Metro Council. By "unique position," Yates said he was referring to his time as a prosecutor with the Kentucky Attorney's General's office, helping to write sex abuse legislation and prosecuting defendants in abuse cases.
In addition, Yates said that in his time as an attorney, he has represented several sex abuse victims in civil litigation, including a case last year in which a jury awarded the plaintiff $10 million.
In his previous motion, O'Connell said that a day after the lawsuit was filed on March 9, Yates proposed a “confidential settlement demand” with the city for $6 million, according to the motion.
As a member of Metro Council, the settlement would be a conflict for Yates because he votes on the city budget, which funds lawsuit settlements, O’Connell argues. Yates declined to discuss the claim of a $6 million settlement offer.
Betts, Wood and other defendants have already asked McDonald-Burkman to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing, in part, it is barred under Kentucky's one-year statute of limitations for personal injuries.
Wood was indicted on seven counts of sexual abuse with one alleged victim, a juvenile, stemming from incidents in 2011 and 2012.
Betts was charged with two counts of sodomy involving two different alleged victims. The indictment alleges Betts engaged in "deviate sexual intercourse" with one of the victims through the use of "forcible compulsion" over a five-month period in 2007.
And Betts is accused of committing sodomy on July 26, 2013 with a minor "he came into contact with as a result" of his position as a police officer.
Attorney Tad Thomas also represents N.C..
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