Wake Co. judge orders state Democratic Party chairman to testify
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RALEIGH -- A Wake County judge has ordered the sexual harassment case involving the N.C. Democratic Party to move forward.
The judge said party chairman has to explain the statements he made about a former staffer who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the party.
It's a scandal that won't go away for the state Democratic Party.
Judge Howard Manning ordered the state Democratic Party Chairman David Parker to testify about alleged defamatory statements he made in a press conference last spring.
“You're entitled to know from his mouth under oath precisely what the basis of his statement was and the factual basis for it,” said Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning.
The initial incident happened last year when executive director Jay Parmley resigned after a settlement involving a sexual harassment claim by former staffer Adriadn Ortega.
“We've alleged in the complaint verified by my client that it was set out to make Mr. Ortega look like a liar when he's the victim in this case,” said Ortega's attorney, Kiernan Shanahan.
Even though a confidential settlement agreement was made, Ortega claimed that agreement was violated during Parker's press conference.
“We have a claim that these statements were made willfully and we think that there are written notes and we want to know if they were distributed to third parties and what they say precisely,” said Shanahan.
Parker will now have to answer questions and explain under oath the basis he made for those statements -- another step some said they're glad to see moving forward.
David Parker's attorney declined to comment on camera for an interview. Parker tried to resign in May after the press conference, but a majority of the Democratic Party executive committee voted to keep him as chairman.