Former assistant attorney sues Ayala for wrongful termination
Kailey Evans says romantic office relationship linked to dismissal
ORLANDO, Fla. - Kailey Evans, a casualty of the incoming Ayala administration, told News 6 her affair with top prosecutor Deborah Barra led to her dismissal from the State Attorney's Office in 2016.
In an exclusive interview with News 6, Evans said she shared her personal mental health struggles with Barra, private conversations she claimed were ultimately used as leverage to remove her from the job.
“I believe I was fired because of the relationship and because they believed there was something wrong with me," Evans told News 6.
In a lawsuit filed Monday morning, Evans' attorney Travis Hollifield argued Evans was “ disciplined for talking about the relationship with Barra in the office, transferred to another division and then terminated.”
“My client revealed private things about herself to that individual (Barra) who we think leaked that information,” Hollifield said.
The lawsuit claims Evans revealed private information, which included “challenges she faced” with anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and an eating disorder.
In an exclusive interview with News 6, former state attorney Jeff Ashton said he was aware of the Evans-Barra fallout.
Ashton was still at the helm during the transition to the new Ayala administration.
“At the time, it didn’t matter who was telling the truth,” Ashton said. “It wasn’t implicit to anything we were doing, so we tried to make people calm down, move on and do the work.”
Ashton said Barra denied any type of romantic relationship with Evans “other than friendship.”
A source in the Ayala administration said the allegations are not true and they are convinced “the case will be dismissed.”
On behalf of the State Attorney's Office, General Council Kamilah Perry sent News 6 the following statement:
"Kailey Evans was not hired by State Attorney Ayala because a member of The Florida bar outside of our office provided reliable information that Ms. Evans intentionally fabricated evidence and lied to the Court. The State Attorney has zero tolerance for unethical conduct by Assistant State Attorneys. Therefore Ms. Evans claims that her disability had any bearing on her employment are completely unsubstantiated and are without merit."
Ashton said the dismissal didn’t make sense to him.
“Until the election and Ms. Barra’s designation as chief assistant, there wasn’t an issue and it became an issue after that, essentially,” Ashton said.
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