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Article published May 17, 2013
Intimidation must stop
Steven Hively Cranberry Township Itzi Meztli Slippery Rock Borough
At the Butler County commissioners’ public meeting of May 8, Commissioner Jim Eckstein’s attorney, Larry Rodgers, publicly attacked both of us, referring to us as “baloney” numerous times, in a crude attempt to discredit our credibility as potential future witnesses in Commissioner Dale Pinkerton’s defamation trial against Eckstein. Rodgers’ verbal diatribe was not only out of order and had nothing to do with county business, but also used a “lynching” metaphor in an unprofessional attempt to scare us. Rodgers’ attack against us reflects a similar strategy utilized by Eckstein at a prior commissioners meeting, one held on April 24, to shut us up in any future court trial. But now, the alleged witness-tampering is getting worse by the day. As a lawyer, Rodgers and his threats should be reprimanded; he’s engaging in willful witness intimidation against us. In fact, during his public statement, his final remarks were as follows: “As they say in ‘Gunsmoke,’ hang them and teach them a lesson.” When Rodgers advocates, in a public forum, the “lynching” of potential lawsuit witnesses against his client, this attorney has gone too far and should be disciplined by the legal profession. Finally, since Rodgers’ intimidating remarks can be seen on Armstrong Cable’s TV videotaping of the May 8 commissioners meeting, the public can thus decide if Eckstein’s defense tactics involve engaging in witness intimidation — for the purpose of influencing testimony in our legal system. So far, both of us have decided not to participate in any future trial, unless subpoenaed, as we feel our personal safety is in jeopardy. Thus, these blatant attempts to harass, threaten and menace us need to stop immediately.