Watertown Daily Times | Hillary files federal lawsuit claiming civil rights violations

CANTON — The lawyers representing Oral “Nick” Hillary in a state malicious-prosecution claim have now filed a complaint with a federal court with a “jury trial demanded” on allegations that he was deprived of his civil rights.

The 41-page civil complaint filed with the U.S. Eastern District Court on Monday also includes 71 pages of exhibits in support of the allegations within the complaint.

Among the named parties are St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy John E. Jones Jr., St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary E. Rain and Onondaga County DA William J. Fitzpatrick.

Mr. Hillary’s attorneys, Amy Marion and Bruce Barket of Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon, LLP, Garden City, charge that he was “deprived of his civil rights and sustained injury as a result of the deprivations of his civil rights.”

“This is a civil rights action seeking damages arising out of Defendants’ violation of the rights secured by the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and arising under the laws and State of New York, and arising out of Defendants’ defamatory statements,” Mr. Hillary’s attorneys argue.

This is the fourth filing made by Mr. Hillary’s attorneys following his Sept. 28 acquittal of the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett J. Phillips following a bench trial in St. Lawrence County Court by Presiding Judge Felix J. Catena.

Currently, Mr. Hillary has a malicious-prosecution notice of claim filed before the Supreme Court for the County of St. Lawrence and one before the Supreme Court for the County of Onondaga making allegations that include police cover-ups and prosecutors fabricating evidence against him in the murder.

Additionally, Mr. Hillary’s has a civil lawsuit against the village of Potsdam and its police department for claims that his civil rights were violated during the investigation. That lawsuit has been scheduled to go to trial July 10 in Albany, by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe, who will be presiding over the case.

Many of the allegations in the complaint filed in federal court reflect the earlier filings, including arguments that Mr. Hillary’s attorneys believe that the investigation against him was part of a conspiracy to target Mr. Hillary for Garrett’s murder. His attorneys also allege that the indictment and subsequent trial under Ms. Rain’s office was an act of retaliation for his filing a civil suit against Potsdam.

“In March of 2013, six months after Mr. Hillary commenced his lawsuit, Mary E. Rain, a former police officer for over 15 years, announced that she would be seeking election for St. Lawrence County District Attorney; explaining that she was ‘encouraged’ to do so by ‘local law enforcement officials and officers,’” the complaint states. “When she announced an indictment in the case within six months…

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