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17 Ex-Employees Sue Washington County Sheriff

MACHIAS, Maine - Seventeen former Washington County Sheriff's Department employees have sued the sheriff, saying he released Social Security numbers and other personal information that later ended up on a newspaper's website.

The former employees accuse Sheriff Donnie Smith, who is running for re-election Nov. 4 as an independent, of invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs tells the Portland Press Herald they fear identity theft.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and legal fees.

The information was released when Smith was involved in a political dispute with two Republican challengers and was trying to show they did not have the requisite work experience.

Smith said he hasn't seen the suit and had no comment. His lawyer called it a political ploy close to the election.