FRESNO — Madera County has agreed to pay nearly $400,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing District Attorney Michael Keitz of political retaliation.
Former deputy district attorney George Fawcett, who said the district attorney's office put him on leave for no apparent reason after he supported Keitz's opponent in the 2010 election, received $331,500 as part of an agreement to drop his suit. His attorneys won $63,500 in the settlement, which was made public on Monday.
Under the settlement terms, neither Keitz nor the county admits wrongdoing. County officials say they just wanted to put the claims behind them.
"The expense of ongoing litigation is a primary concern in these difficult budgetary times for the county," Keitz said in a statement. "Unfortunately these types of lawsuits are all too common."
Fawcett filed his lawsuit against the county and Keitz in U.S. District Court in Fresno after he was put on paid leave in October of 2010, pending an investigation of something he is suspected of doing, he said.
Fawcett suspects it was over supporting Robert McGurty in McGurty's 2010 bid for the district attorney job.
The county civil service commission earlier this year found that the district attorney's office had no right to issue the suspension, according to Fawcett. He was reinstated in February.