Shiping Bao, the controversial associate medical examiner for Volusia and Seminole counties in Florida, testified at the George Zimmerman trial most recently. He caused contention when he altered parts of his testimony without informing the parties in the trial, tried to testify to an area outside his expertise (on memory issues), and often ignored questions and sometimes even the judge. Bao was fired last week. He has hired a lawyer and is hinting at a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
Bao was fired from his position as the associate medical examiner last week. No reason was specified. The termination letter says that he was given the opportunity to resign, but chose not to. According to CFNews13, Bao’s lawyer has filed a complaint against the county.
An excerpt of the complaint reads:
“This is a formal request to ask you to preserve any and all documents…and/or evidence related to Dr. Bao’s claims and/or the Trayvon Martin Case.”
This hints that the firing was over the Martin case. Bao performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin. Bao’s attorney, Willie E. Gary, said he plans to file a lawsuit for discrimination, job harassment and wrongful termination for $100 million. On cross-examination, the defense during the Zimmerman trial exposed that the medical examiner’s office didn’t necessarily follow ‘good practice’, but Bao testified that wasn’t his job.
Along with Bao’s upcoming lawsuit, District Attorney Angela Corey’s office is also facing a whistleblower lawsuit related to the Zimmerman case. Ben Kruidbos was Corey’s director of information technology until he was fired after testifying at a pre-trial hearing that prosecutors failed to turn over evidence extracted from Martin’s phone, as required by law. Kruidbos hired Wesley White as his attorney. White knows all too well what it’s like to disagree with Corey. He was hired by Corey as a prosecutor, but had to resign because he disagreed with her priorities. In the termination letter, Corey maligned Kruidbos’ character by saying he was hacking confidential information. In the pre-trial hearing, it came out that the office had previously accused him of this without evidence. The prosecution had known about the potential evidence from Martin’s phone since January of 2013, but didn’t give it to the defense until 6 months later, shortly before the trial. The prosecution in the case is also currently facing possible sanctions for a Brady violation.
Corey’s office was criticized for firing Kruidbos so soon after George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in the case. Kruidbos is seeking $5 million in damages. White also filed a complaint with Florida’s Commission on Human Relations. The lawsuit cited a statute that makes it illegal to fire someone for his or her testimony when it is given under subpoena. Kruidbos was subpoenaed by the defense for the Zimmerman pre-trial hearing.
“Normally people wouldn’t do something like that, fire somebody as a result of testifying pursuant to subpoena,” said White.
When asked for comment on the whistleblower lawsuit, Corey re-released Kruidbos’ termination letter, which accuses him of bad behavior. The six-page letter accused Kruidbos of “deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions” that make him untrustworthy and “a shallow, but obvious, attempt to cloak yourself in the protection of the whistleblower law.” The mention of the ‘whistleblower law’ is an obvious attempt to jump out in front of Kruidbos’ argument. The termination letter was dated July 11th and the whistleblower lawsuit was filed in August.