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Prosecutor Sues County Boss Over Firing

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A former Jefferson County municipal prosecutor claims the newly elected Republican county executive fired him for political reasons. Jefferson County is just south of St. Louis County.

Dan James, a Democrat, was hired as municipal prosecutor on Dec. 16, 2006. James claims in Federal Court that Ken Waller, who was elected county executive in November 2010, fired him on Jan. 3, Waller's first day in office.

"On or about December 14, 2010, Waller (then the Jefferson County executive-elect) told James that he would be making changes once he was in office and one of those changes would be that he would be letting James go at the beginning of the year," the complaint states. "Waller further told James that his decision had nothing to do with what James did or did not do while James had been county municipal court prosecutor but that Waller needed someone in office who would protect him politically."

James says his firing violated the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment, and violated the Jefferson County charter, which states that political activity may not be a condition of employment for merit-based employees, which includes the municipal prosecutor.

James seeks actual and punitive damages for emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, stress, and loss of professional reputation. He is represented by Lynette Petruska with Pleban & Petruska.

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