Attorneys for the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday pressed a federal magistrate to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former staffer after his side wrongfully released a list of lawmakers who allegedly had romantic affairs.
Senate attorney Dayle Nolan said that lawyers for former Senate GOP communications chief Michael Brodkorb violated a judge’s order to keep the list private and then he bragged about it in the news media. Short of tossing the lawsuit, Nolan asked the judge not allow the list to be used in the upcoming trial and force the other side to pay the Senate’s legal fees caused by the incident.
“What would be unjust is for Minnesota taxpayers to pay for this fiasco,” Nolan said.
Brodkorb attorney Greg Walsh said the incident was a mistake and that their team scrambled to fix it quickly.
“Mr. Brodkorb had no knowledge of this filing,” Walsh said.
Brodkorb, a brash political operative who often clashed with member of his own party, was fired by fellow Republicans in December 2011 after former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, admitted the two were having a romantic affair. They were both married to others at the time.
Koch stepped down from Senate leadership and Brodkorb filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit, arguing he was treated differently than female staffers who had similar affairs with elected officials.
The Senate asked for sanctions after Brodkorb’s attorneys electronically filed a list of lawmakers suspected of having affairs in a way that allowed them to the seen by the public. The list is protected by a court seal and should have remained private. The Associated Press and Minnesota Public Radio were able to download the documents before the error was corrected. Neither published the names of the 10 former senators, one current senator and six staff members who Brodkorb alleges had similar affairs but remained employed.
Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan did not ask questions during the 30-minute hearing and said he would take it all under advisement.
The Senate has already spent more than $200,000 in legal fees and set aside another $500,000 for the trial set for next year. Attempts to resolve the lawsuit outside of court have not been successful.