Chief U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt issued a decision Thursday allowing former cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo to go to trial on her battery claim against Gov. Jim Gibbons.
In a 20-page decision, Hunt also paved the way for Mazzeo to go to trial on her claim that Gibbons, former Sheriff Bill Young and campaign strategist Sig Rogich conspired to unlawfully discredit her after she filed a criminal complaint against the governor.
The complaint stemmed from a physical encounter outside the McCormick & Schmick's restaurant, near Flamingo Road at Paradise Road, following a night of drinking on Oct. 13, 2006. Mazzeo said Gibbons, then a member of Congress campaigning for governor, walked her into a parking garage, threw her against a wall and threatened to sexually assault her.
Gibbons has said he walked Mazzeo to her car and grabbed her arm when she tripped and fell.
Mazzeo alleged in her federal lawsuit filed two years ago that the three defendants, along with the Las Vegas police department, violated her First Amendment rights and retaliated against her during a high-profile criminal investigation that ultimately cleared Gibbons of wrongdoing.
"The record supports an inference that defendants shared a common objective of minimizing Gibbons' political harm," Hunt wrote.
Hunt said Mazzeo and her attorney, Robert Kossack, laid out enough facts to move forward on their claim that the defendants took action against her to "neutralize" political damage. The encounter between Mazzeo and Gibbons occurred three weeks before Gibbons was elected governor in 2006.
Hunt, however, dismissed Mazzeo's claim that the encounter with Gibbons inflicted emotional distress on her, and the judge tossed out another claim that Young and the police department treated her differently than other victims during the criminal investigation and violated her 14th Amendment equal protection rights.
Contact Jeff German at 380-8135 or jgerman@review journal.com.