'Phoebe Factoid' suit argued in highest court
WASHINGTON, DC - The U. S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Today in an Albany case that could decide whether government officials are entitled to absolute immunity from civil lawsuits if they knowingly provide false testimony to a grand jury.
Charles Rehberg was charged with assault, burglary, and harassment for sending anonymous faxes known as Phoebe Factoids that criticized how Phoebe Putney Hospital conducted business.
Then District Attorney Ken Hodges and Chief Investigator James Paulk subpoenaed phone records to figure out who sent the faxes.
Rehberg filed suit saying they violated his constitutional rights and accusing Paulk of lying to the grand jury.
The suit against Hodges was tossed out, but the suit against Paulk is going before the nation's highest court.
"To bring a false indictment, people kind of think well that's not that big of a deal, but I can assure you it's a big deal. It costs a lot of money to defend criminal cases and we don't have insurance for that kind of thing and in my case I spent a lot of money putting those charges aside and proving them to be false as did Rehberg, so bringing an indictment has consequences for the defendant," said Palmyra Surgeon Dr. John Bagnato.
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