TC Palm by Melissa E. Holsman Treasure Coast Newspapers
May 30, 2019
STUART — Martin County Commissioner Sarah Heard in April was acquitted by a jury of violating public-records laws and now she wants Martin County to pay her $450,363 criminal-defense bill, records released Thursday show.
Heard’s Stuart lawyers Jordan Wagner and Barbara Kibbey Wagner on May 14 submitted an invoice to the county that shows the husband-and-wife legal team charged her $400 an hour plus legal expenses dating to November 2017, when they were hired to represent her.
Established legal precedent dating to the early 1980s requires the county to pay Heard’s legal fees, Wagner said Thursday.
“It’s not discretionary. If an elected official is charged with a crime that arises out of their official duties and they are acquitted, then the county or entity is responsible for their attorney’s fees,” he said. “That has been the case since 1982 … They don’t have a choice.”