As media pundits continue to discuss the “not guilty” verdict rendered by the jury on July 13 in the nationally watched George Zimmerman trial, a particular aspect of the case warrants further attention. Ben Kruidbos (shown in photo), the former information technology director in the Florida state attorney’s office, was fired on July 12 for what he believes was retaliation for having testified that prosecutors withheld evidence from Zimmerman’s defense team.
The Florida Times Union reported that State Attorney Angela Corey’s office sent a state attorney investigator to Ben Kruidbos’ home on Friday evening to hand deliver a six-page letter to the IT director notifying him that his employment had been terminated. The letter was signed by the state attorney office’s managing director, Cheryl R. Peek.
NBC News provided several excerpts from the letter, including:
It has come to our attention that you violated numerous State Attorney’s Office (SAO) policies and procedures and have engaged in deliberate misconduct that is especially egregious in light of your position as Director of Information Technology (IT).
Your egregious lack of regard for the sensitive nature of the information handled by this office is completely abhorrent. You have proven to be completely untrustworthy. Because of your deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions, you can never again be trusted to step foot in this office.
The letter alleged that Kruidbos’ intent "was not pursuant to any pure motive or genuine concern," and continued:
Your feigned and spurious claim of possible liability was nothing more than shameful manipulation in a shallow, but obvious, attempt to cloak yourself in the protection of the whistleblower law.
Florida’s “whistleblower law” bars retaliation against state employees who reveal protected information.
The Times-Union quoted Kruidbos’ attorney, Wesley White, who resigned from the state attorney’s office in December. White said that the purpose of Kruidbos’ dismissal was to send a message to state office employees “that if they feel like there is wrongdoing,” they should not disclose it or seek legal advice from a private attorney.
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