Judge: Private prison company that runs Tacoma detention center can’t depose state attorney general

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Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Q13 News photo

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge in Tacoma won’t let the private prison company GEO Group question Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson under oath.

The company wanted to depose Ferguson in a lawsuit he brought last year over GEO’s practice of paying immigration detainees at the Northwest Detention Center $1 per day for janitorial and other chores. Ferguson says the detainees must be paid minimum wage.

GEO says the state has known about the practice for 12 years, and that Ferguson, a Democrat and a critic of President Donald Trump, is suing now only to take advantage of the political climate and advance his career. The company says it needed to depose Ferguson to gather information it could use in its defense.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan rejected that Monday. He said that absent extraordinary circumstances, it’s forbidden to depose an opponent’s lawyer.

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