Conflict of interest at center of LMPD Explorer hearing

Arguing representation in LMPD Explorer case

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- David Yates took the stand to defend his stance as an attorney and Louisville Metro Council President claiming he is the best man to fight what he calls a coverup from the top down.

In a case that can best be described as contentious from the very beginning, Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman heard excerpts from the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Mark Twain in the arguments on Oct. 18 as she tries to determine whether council president David Yates can legally represent plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city.

"What did they know and when did they know it,” said attorney Lee Sitlinger.  “What did they know and when did they know it?  It could go all the way up to the council.  What did you, President Yates, know, and when did you know it?  If there was a coverup why did you do something?"

"I don't know the exact time,” said David Yates.  “The first person that I was told by one client about another, and it seemed a little far-fetched."

"Could [Yates] have used the power of the government to investigate what is going on in those instances,” asked attorney Matt Golden.

"I suppose [Yates] could,” said Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell.

After going back and forth for most of the morning about perceived conflicts, and potential abuse of power in the LMPD Explorer case attorney Lee Sitlinger asked Yates a simple question.

"Wouldn't it have been better advisement for you when N.C. came to you, or you went to him whichever, and said about these allegations for you to say I'm president of Metro Council I have a clear conflict,” said Sitlinger.

"It was me they trusted,” said Yates.  “They were worried about the power.  They were worried about Mr. O'Connell's position which he had taken.  There was all kinds of fear."

Yates currently represents multiple plaintiffs in cases against LMPD and says much more will come forward prompting yet another fiery back and forth.

"You have been defaming and libeling a very good man who has devoted his life, his personal assets, to a program for many years while you were still going to law school,” said Sitlinger.

"This is children against the Louisville Metro Police Department, individuals, including your client who participated in a coverup,” said Yates.

"We'll have the opportunity to debate this in court,” said Sitlinger.  “I'm not trying to try the case today."

Each side now has 10 days to provide written motions and arguments to the judge, but it's not clear when she will deliver her final judgment.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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