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County Pays Massive Legal Fees Involving Sheriff David Clarke Lawsuits

(AP) — Milwaukee County has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past several years to cover the legal costs of lawsuits brought by the county sheriff.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports a federal judge this week tossed out Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke's lawsuit against County Executive Chris Abele. Clarke alleged that Abele violated his right to free speech by using the budget process to punish Clarke and others who say things Abele disagrees with.

County taxpayers will now have to pick up the $50,000 tab for Clarke's private attorney, Michael A.I. Whitcomb.

The county has already paid Whitcomb more than $260,000 to represent the sheriff in litigation against the county since 2012. The county itself has paid $83,000 defending itself in these lawsuits.

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