(WKBN) – An attorney and former employee of the Public Defender’s Office and his wife just sued Trumbull County commissioner Niki Frenchko and the county.

David Rouzzo’s attorney filed the lawsuit in Trumbull County Monday morning.

In the court document, Rouzzo claims in April 2021, Frenchko, using her government email, sent an email containing false and defamatory statements. He says Frenchko falsely accused him of mistreating poor clients and Black attorneys.

The lawsuit accuses Frenchko of sending the email to multiple recipients.

It also claims the county should be liable for failing to properly train and supervise Frenchko.

Frenchko sent us the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

Trumbull County went with the state public defenders system to provide better quality indigent defense while saving a lot of money. There is no more undue pressure to settle cases, clients, attorneys and staff are happier with the more cost effective system. The municipal courts recommended this, and all three commissioners approved it. This seems like a case of sour grapes for a past provider under the court appointed system who was unsuccessful at regaining county work. I wasn’t interested in hearing Rouzzo’s presentation after reviewing the outcome of his investigation. I only CC’d the two responsible for scheduling public defender presenters. I told him he was still welcome to speak at a public meeting. These allegations are ludicrous.