Saturday, July 22, 2000

Rashid can keep Chesley

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Hamilton County Common Pleas judge ruled in favor of former news anchor Norma Rashid Friday on two motions filed by Channel 5, including one to disqualify Stanley Chesley and his colleagues from being her attorney.

        Ms. Rashid filed a civil suit against WLWT (Channel 5) in April after being removed from the air in March. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for age, sex and disability discrimination, breach of contract, defamation, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

        The disqualifying motion, filed by Channel 5's lawyers and overruled Friday by Judge Robert Kraft, said Mr. Chesley should not represent Ms. Rashid because he is needed to testify as a witness.

        Channel 5's lawyers alleged Mr. Chesley spoke to Channel 5 general manager Rabun Matthews about a termination letter Mr. Matthews had sent Ms. Rashid.

        Channel 5 sent the letter to Ms. Rashid on March 27, but two weeks later sent a letter of apology stating that her actual date of termination was Dec. 30, 2000. She no longer is drawing her $275,600 salary.

        Ms. Rashid, a Fort Thomas single mother of three, was diagnosed in 1998 with an incurable heart condition. Should her firing stand up in court, she will lose health insurance after 18 months, her attorneys said.

        The other motion was a counter-claim of defamation against Ms. Rashid for public comments she made against Channel 5. Judge Kraft overruled it because of a lack of information.

        Ms. Rashid's lawyers said compensation should be coming to Ms. Rashid.

        “We want a jury to look (Channel 5) in the eye and tell them loud and clear what they did to someone loyal to the community for 18 years,” Mr. Chesley said. “They didn't want to pay the price tag for a top-rate journalist.”

        Attorneys will report back to Judge Kraft in late August. The trial is not expected to begin until 2001.


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