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Lawyer in $50 million lawsuit threatened


A Sackets Harbor attorney said she received a phone call Thursday from an anonymous man who said she had a choice: drop a $50 million lawsuit against the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, or risk her law career and her ability to drive without constantly being pulled over.

Charu Narang said the caller identified himself as “connected” with the Sheriff’s Department.

“This is not something that happens in a civilized society,” Ms. Narang said.

Ms. Narang’s client in the state Supreme Court lawsuit, sheriff’s Deputy Krystal G. Rice, alleges that a detective took topless photographs of her in an online pedophile sting and that those photographs no longer can be accounted for.

Sheriff John P. Burns could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

“I am appalled that the sheriff’s office is resorting to such tactics to intimidate, harass and coerce me and my client,” Ms. Narang wrote in a letter to David J. Paulsen, Jefferson County attorney.

She said received her phone call shortly after noon. The person told her that if she proceeded with the lawsuit, it would become “extremely difficult” for Ms. Narang to practice law. The person also said that her life would become “unbearable” because of how often she’d get pulled over.

Mr. Paulsen said the county clerk’s office also received a suspicious call before noon.

“He was making number of statements that were very demanding,” Mr. Paulsen said. “Nothing they were able to do seemed to satisfy this gentleman.”

Mr. Paulsen, who declined to elaborate on the nature of the caller’s demands, said county clerk employees spoke with the man for about 15 minutes.

“To threaten someone for exercising their rights is unacceptable,” Mr. Paulsen said.

Ms. Narang said the lawsuit is now in a “holding pattern.” The Sheriff’s Department, represented by Mr. Paulsen, will have the opportunity to question Ms. Rice on May 16, Ms. Narang said.

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