• Attorney of woman accusing DA of harassment defends client

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    HICKORY, N.C. - An attorney is defending his client who is suing a prominent district attorney for harassment.

    Last week, Jay Gaither dismissed the claims and blamed a marital affair for the allegations.
     
    John Buric filed the lawsuit against Gaither on behalf of Nikki Shaffer.
                   
    Shaffer used to work for Gaither as an assistant district attorney.


    Read our past coverage:

    Attorney accused of harassment talks about allegations

    Lawsuit accuses district attorney of harassment


    The suit claims Gaither tried to get her to come to his lake house for sex and he sent her dozens of inappropriate text messages.
                   
    Gaither said Shaffer was fired for having an affair with a defense attorney she often faced in court.
     
    "The notion of that to me is preposterous,” Buric said.

    Gaither, who is up for re-election, has also said Shaffer owes it to voters to address that.
     
    "I don't think Nikki owes the voters anything.  I think it's Mr. Gaither that owes the voters an explanation,” Buric said.
                   
    Buric is not allowing Shaffer to speak on the matter.
                   
    He said his client had a relationship with a separated defense attorney, not an affair.
                   
    Channel 9 couldn't find the defense attorney, but Eyewitness News spoke with that man's now ex-wife, who didn't want to comment.
                   
    Buric said Shaffer wasn't fired, she resigned because Gaither's sexual advances had become close to intolerable.
                   
    Shaffer claims Gaither sent texts saying, "I have laid hands on you and love the feel of your body."
                   
    She also said he sent a text that he is concerned his conduct might "hurt his family."
                   
    Gaither is married with four children.
                   
    Channel 9 called Gaither on Monday and asked if he sent those text messages.
     
    He refused to answer any of the questions on the record, but he has said he is not at fault in this case.
                   
    Buric can't believe Gaither's reaction to the lawsuit.
     
    "Very disappointed that Mr. Gaither, instead of accepting responsibility for what he did, elected to make more slanderous and defamatory statements,” he said.
          
    Buric said he is now interviewing other women who have worked for Gaither at the DA’s office.
           
    He would not reveal what they are telling him, but said it will come out in court.
     
    Buric said he and his client wanted to settle this case quietly. They were hoping to settle out of court, but he said now they are ready to go to trial.

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