Mahoning County Prosecutor reveals more details in Desmond firing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Former Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Marty Desmond isn’t saying anything publicly about his firing Wednesday, but local defense attorney James Wise, whose civil rights lawsuit may have led to Desmond’s downfall, says he can’t understand it.

The firing comes after an investigation into a case handled by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dawn Cantalamessa. Gains said Desmond alleged that Cantalamessa lied to the court in that case.

Gains said Desmond conducted his own investigation into a case that he was not assigned to. He then discussed his suspicions with people outside of the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, Gains said.

Paul Gains is quick to insist he never accused Desmond of helping Wise with his lawsuit, but he is questioning why computer logs indicate Desmond was researching a legal website for information on malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and immunity issues – the very same ones Wise cites in his case.

Although the log Gains provided WYTV Wednesday shows Desmond went to the “Westlaw” site on the same day Wise’s lawsuit was filed, he claims Desmond said he never went there.

“I asked him again if he had conducted any research into the issues, specifically in November or December of 2016, and again he denied it,” Gains said.

Gains said Desmond failed to inform his boss about the lawsuit when he first learned about it last fall as well as failing to tell his supervisors of concerns he had with his colleagues and their actions and then not being truthful about the legal research.

Wise said in a phone interview that he told Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa about the lawsuit in August, weeks before he and Desmond ever discussed it.

“I did not like how she handled this matter and I advised her that I would be filing a lawsuit against her,” Wise said.

Gains argues that Desmond still had a responsibility to notify his boss when he learned about it.

“He, himself had a duty to tell us as far as I’m concerned,” Gains said.

But Gains says he was also upset by Desmond’s own admissions that he discussed office activities and staff with outsiders, including Wise.

“Discussing these internal matters with an attorney who has an adverse intent with his client, Mahoning County, in my opinion is despicable,” Gains said.