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Bernero Asks Judge To Block Recording From Being Used Against Him In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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Virg Bernero at Michigan Municipal League 2010 Convention - Day 3 by Michigan Municipal League (MML) is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
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Former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is trying to stop an audio recording from being used as evidence against him in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Liz Hart filed a lawsuit this summer alleging Bernero sexually harassed her when she was his intern in 2013 and 2014. According to court records, her attorneys say they have a recording in which the former mayor says there was “no question” he had been “inappropriate” with Hart.

But Bernero’s attorneys say the recording was obtained illegally. Political consultant Emily Dievendorf reportedly recorded the conversation, which took place in the office of City Councilmember Kathie Dunbar. Bernero’s attorneys say Dievendorf didn’t directly participate in the discussion, and they say she lacked the necessary permission to record.

A judge will decide whether to admit the recording as evidence during a hearing in October. Dievendorf and Dunbar did not respond Friday to requests for comment.

Bernero’s attorney Colline Cheltenham declined to comment on the contents of the recording. She’s asking for the case to be dismissed.

“We believe fully that our legal position is quite clear in the pleadings that we filed with the court”

Bernero announced his run for mayor earlier this year but dropped out of the race in April. The next day, MLive published an article in which several women, including Hart and Dievendorf, accused Bernero of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Hart’s attorneys have named two reporters on a list of potential witnesses. One is Emily Lawler of MLIVE who broke the story of Hart’s allegations against Bernero. I am also included on the list. I interviewed Hart about her experiences with Bernero as part of an article for The Lansing State Journal.

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