Manning attorney: ‘Serious liberty and livelihood interests are in the balance’
MUSKOGEE – A filing in a federal civil suit against Sheriff Kevin Clardy, Captain Alicia Manning, MCSO Investigator Richard Williamson and others revealed that Manning is under FBI criminal investigation and fears federal prosecution, her attorney said in a Wednesday filing in federal court.
Manning was slated to be deposed Thursday morning in the Roper Harris civil suit in federal court in Muskogee.
Harris is suing Clardy, Manning, the Board of County Commissioners, Williamson, and four former county jail employees, alleging Clardy, Manning and others used unnecessary force and repeated attacks in arresting Harris and pepper-balled him in the eye at close range, resulting in permanent damage.
He also alleged he was refused medical care following the beatings while an inmate in the county jail.
Manning, through her Association of County Commissioners-provided attorney Howard Morrow, sought a third motion to stay in the case.
She had previously sought motions to quash her testimony in the case.
The filing said Manning should not be deposed at this time because her testimony in the civil case could “bleed into the investigations that stand to determine much about Defendant Manning’s future.”
“Serious liberty and livelihood interests are in the balance and implicated by this parallel proceeding. The outcome of this investigation will have an enormous effect on Defendant Manning’s life, one way or another,” Morrow said in a motion to stay filed Wednesday.
Morrow said Manning believes her testimony in the Harris case will lead to a criminal indictment, so the deposition would violate her 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Morrow said the court often refers to this as a “Hobbesian dilemma,” putting the defendant in the quandary of choosing between waiving their 5th Amendment rights or effectively forfeiting the civil case.
“Defendant Manning’s requested deposition puts her in a legal conundrum,” Morrow said in the Wednesday filing.
On Wednesday the court entered an order following Manning’s request for an order of protection designating who may attend her deposition. Morrow said the FBI, as well as two law firms had shown much interest in attending Manning’s deposition.
Manning sought to exclude the FBI and attorneys from Smolen Law Firm and Haven Law Group from hearing her testimony.
“There is no clear understanding of the FBI specific intentions but we agree that they are investigating this matter and are specifically interested in Defendant Manning,” Morrow said in the filing.
Morrow said all parties will have a better understanding of the status of the FBI investigation against Manning in 60 days. Morrow said Manning became aware of the FBI investigation against her on or about May 2, 2023.
Harris’ attorney, Mitchell Garrett, responded to Morrow’s motion saying this is effectively Manning’s third motion to avoid being deposed.
Garrett said that after Federal Magistrate Judge D. Edward Snow granted Manning’s motion asking that only certain persons be allowed to attend her July 20 deposition, she then returned to her original request that her deposition be quashed.
Garrett noted that Manning was aware of the FBI investigation against her at the time of her original motion to quash, but made a deliberate omission and didn’t raise this argument “until the eleventh hour.”
Magistrate Snow granted Manning’s motion to stay and her deposition was set for Sept. 19, 2023.