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Ex-employee's lawsuit against U.S. attorney is dismissed

TAMPA — A defamation lawsuit against U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill was dismissed Friday by a federal judge.

Former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Del Fuoco had his first defamation suit against O'Neill dismissed by U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore in February 2010. Del Fuoco was warned then by the judge to keep his "impertinent and immaterial" allegations to himself.

But the judge found that he used the same rhetoric in a second complaint, which was tossed out this week.

Del Fuoco first sued O'Neill, his former boss, in 2009, accusing him of defaming Del Fuoco's character as part of O'Neill's application to be U.S. attorney for the Tampa-based Middle District of Florida. At issue was the public airing of Justice Department documents that include a letter outlining the reasons for Del Fuoco's departure from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Whittemore's ruling dismissed the claims of defamation, violation of the Privacy Act and civil contempt because Del Fuoco could "prove no set of facts that would entitle him to relief on any of his claims."

In a separate order, the judge admonished Del Fuoco for accusing people not named in the lawsuit of wrongdoing as well as alleging O'Neill was involved in criminal acts. None of that were pertinent to Del Fuoco's case, the judge said.

The ruling also prevents Del Fuoco from filing another case based on the same claim.

Ex-employee's lawsuit against U.S. attorney is dismissed 02/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 11:40pm]

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