Bills for attorneys for Leopold civil lawsuit top $55,000

Private lawyers hired to represent Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold in a federal gender discrimination lawsuit have charged county taxpayers more than $55,500 for their first four months of work, according to invoices released in response to a Public Information Act request by The Baltimore Sun.

A Dec. 7 invoice from the Thatcher Law Firm in Greenbelt shows a bill for about $4,886 for work done in November. Previous bills totaled about $50,600. No trial date has been set.

Leopold, who has denied wrongdoing, has promised, with caveats, to repay the county if he loses the lawsuit. His former press aide, Karla Hamner, sued Leopold and the county government in 2010, claiming he harassed her and arranged for her to be fired when she complained about his behavior.

County attorneys initially represented Leopold but concluded in August that the government's and Leopold's interests were not the same and hired the Thatcher firm to represent Leopold.

Leopold, in the midst of his second term as county executive, also is facing criminal charges that he used his police protection detail for personal and political gain. A trial on those charges is scheduled to begin next week with jury selection.

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