High court considers Ga. suit over false testimony

November 1, 2011 - 11:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has heard arguments in a Georgia case about whether government officials are protected from civil lawsuits, even if they tell lies that lead a grand jury to vote for an indictment.

The justices heard arguments Tuesday in an appeal from Charles Rehberg, an accountant who was indicted three times involving charges that he harassed doctors affiliated with a politically connected south Georgia hospital system.

After the third indictment was dismissed even before a trial, Rehberg sued local prosecutors and their investigator, James Paulk. Rehberg argues that Paulk's false grand jury testimony led to the indictments.

At issue in the high court is whether the grand jury setting for Paulk's allegedly false testimony gives him immunity from Rehberg's lawsuit.