JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The information technology director fired by State Attorney Angela Corey after he testified at a pretrial hearing in the George Zimmerman trial is suing his former boss for $5 million.
Ben Kruidbos was fired after testifying at a June 6 pretrial hearing that prosecutors failed to turn over potentially embarrassing evidence extracted from Martin's cellphone to the defense, as required by evidence-sharing laws.
Kruidbos was subpoenaed by Zimmerman's lawyers to testify about photos and texts recovered from Trayvon Martin's cellphone the attorneys claim were not turned over by the prosecution.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled that pictures and texts from Martin's phone were inadmissible after prosecutors argued that it couldn't be proven Martin actually took the pictures and wrote the texts on his phone.
The judge has yet to rule on whether the prosecution committed any legal violations by not handing over evidence, as alleged by Zimmerman's defense team.
A six-page termination letter, dated July 11, described Kruidbos' behavior as "deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions" that make him untrustworthy and calls his questioning of Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda's actions regarding the cellphone evidence.
DOCUMENT: Kruidbos' lawsuit for damages
Kruidbos' "Complaint for Damages" claims Angela Corey "purposefully, maliciously, directly, proximately and foreseeably" damaged his professional reputation, diminished his ability to seek other employment, damaged his professional reputation and caused emotional distress. The filing also requests a jury trial for the case.
The state attorney's office posted on its website Thursday: "Due to pending litigation involving Mr. Kruidbos, we cannot comment further."
At a news conference two days after Zimmerman's acquittal, Corey defended her actions.
"Ben Kruidbos not only gave evidence outside of this office, which is strictly prohibited by Florida law, he then gave it to someone who took it to the defense," Corey said. "This man was the head of our entire IT department. We could not allow him to have access to our other records."
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