Attorney accused of harassment talks about allegations

by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Prominent District Attorney Jay Gaither is accused of harassing and intimidating former Assistant District Attorney Whitney Nicole Shaffer.
 
Channel 9 talked with Gaither Friday night about the allegations in Shaffer's lawsuit.
 
Gaither wouldn't comment on text messages referenced in the lawsuit between Gaither and Shaffer. One read, "I've laid hands on you and love the feel of your body."
 
Instead Gaither pointed to the first of two statements he sent Channel 9. In the first statement Gaither claimed Shaffer sued him in retaliation after she was caught in bed with a local defense attorney and forced out of her job. 
 
The second statement Gaither sent to Channel 9 on Friday asked Shaffer respond to his previous statement.
 
"I have made a public statement regarding the true circumstances of my former employee's departure from my office. At this time I believe it is incumbent upon her to address the issue of whether she had a sexual relationship with a married defense attorney who regularly appeared as opposing counsel in her court. I believe she owes that to the voters of this district. While I am human and I make mistakes, I own up to the mistakes I made. This is not one of those occasions. Her claim of sexual harassment is unfounded and false, which is why her (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) was dismissed."
 
The lawsuit stated the EEOC never investigated Shaffer's claim. Instead it said after a waiting period that Shaffer requested that the EEOC issue her a right-to-sue letter. 
 
The EEOC forwarded Shaffer’s request to the U.S Department of Justice. 
 
Gaither questioned the lawsuit's timing. Gaither is currently the DA for Caldwell, Catawba and Burke counties. The lawsuit comes one week before early voting in his re-election runoff.

Channel 9 forwarded Gaither’s statements to Shaffer’s attorney but received no response as of Friday. Channel 9 also reached out to Shaffer’s family and was told they had no comment.