BELFAST, Maine — Republicans representing several counties have picked two attorneys they’d like to fill the role of their longtime district attorney, who could be moving up to a Maine District Court judgeship.
Geoffrey Rushlau of Dresden, the longtime district attorney for Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties, is waiting for the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee to review his appointment before a possible Senate confirmation hearing next month. Gov. Paul LePage nominated him late last month.
Republican committees from Prosecutorial District 6, which Rushlau represents, met Monday to determine who to nominate to take Rushlau’s place if he ultimately becomes a judge. Only Republican attorneys are eligible to replace Rushlau, a Republican.
Two attorneys, Jonathan Liberman and Paul Cavanaugh submitted their names for consideration according to the Lincoln County News. The committees voted to send both candidates to the state for review because the governor asked for more than one option.
Liberman of West Bath has been a prosecutor for the past six years and served as Rushlau’s deputy district attorney in the midcoast area prosecutorial district. Cavanaugh of Woolwich is a 25-year prosecutor and former candidate for district attorney in Hancock and Washington counties. He works as deputy district attorney in Kennebec County. Prior to that he was an assistant district attorney in Washington County.
Rushlau’s appointment is subject to review by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee and confirmation by the Senate. His term expires in 2018, so if the attorney who replaces him wants to continue serving as DA, he will have to run for re-election.
Rushlau was one of the targets of an employment discrimination lawsuit filed last year in federal court by a former employee of the Lincoln County district attorney’s office. The employee sued the state attorney general’s office, the county and its commissioners, Rushlau, and former Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wright, alleging that Wright harassed her, county officials were indifferent, and Rushlau forced her to resign in 2014 “under false and misleading pretenses.”
Earlier this month, federal Magistrate Judge John H. Rich II, filed a recommendation that Rushlau be dismissed as a defendant from the ongoing lawsuit. Rich recommended this in part because the woman failed to “state plausible claims against Rushlau.”
That recommendation will need to be reviewed by a federal district court judge before Rushlau can be dropped from the suit.
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