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Schuylkill County News

Judge Issues Deadline for Halcovage to Respond to Gag Order Allegations

Halcovage has until Feb. 28 to respond.

The judge overseeing the Jane Doe sexual harassment lawsuit has issued a deadline for Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage to respond to allegations he violated a gag order.

In an order dated Feb. 16, US District Magistrate Martin Carlson gave Halcovage and his attorney, Gerard Geiger, until Feb. 28 to answer these allegations.

A filing by the lawyer representing the Jane Doe plaintiffs in the case alleges that Halcovage spoke with a former Schuylkill County Commissioners office employee, Paul Straka, about depositions conducted in January 2023.

The conversation Halcovage allegedly had with Straka involved a statement made by one of the Jane Doe plaintiffs during a January 10 deposition. During that deposition, it was suggested Halcovage ordered supplies for his insurance business through the Commissioners office.

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A little more than a week later, the Jane Doe lawyer suggests, Halcovage approached Straka at a funeral and shared what was said during the deposition. The Commissioner allegedly used the first name of one of the Jane Doe plaintiffs, tying her to bringing up Straka’s name and claim.

Not only does Catherine Smith, the Jane Doe lawyer, suggest this is “borderline witness intimidation” but it also violates a confidentiality order Carlson put in place regarding depositions.

Smith has asked Carlson to find Halcovage and Geiger in contempt and to sanction them.

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