Acting Mahoning County Prosecutor Gina DeGenova is denying claims made in a federal lawsuit that she knew about an alleged secret meeting held between two county commissioners to fire an employee because he supported a political opponent of one of the commissioners.

DeGenova has asked a federal judge to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed by employee Ricky Morrison against her, all three commissioners, and county administrator Audrey Tillis.

According to the lawsuit, Morrison claims he was fired because he supported the candidacy of Geno DiFabio, who lost an election challenge to incumbent county commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.

Following the threat of a lawsuit by Morrison’s attorney Subodh Chandra, DeGenova denied any political motivation behind the firing, also announcing Morrison’s reinstatement, saying the firing was initiated by the county administrator, and not the commissioners.

Chandra filed a federal civil-rights complaint alleging defamation and retaliation against Morrison.

The complaint claims that commissioner Anthony Traficanti told DeGenova that Rimedio-Righetti met secretly with fellow commissioner David Ditzler and voted to fire Morrison to retaliate against Morrison for attending a board of elections meeting where Morrison showed support for candidate DiFabio.

Morrison’s complaint says the commissioners violated the Open Meetings Law and demands compensatory damages for back pay, mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, as well as pain and suffering.

In a 63-page answer to Morrison’s lawsuit filed on Wednesday, DeGenova denied that Traficanti told her that the commissioners held a “secret” meeting or that the two other commissioners voted to fire Morrison in retaliation.

DeGenova claims the law gives her several forms of immunity from Morrison’s lawsuit and asked that his case be dismissed.

Commissioners appointed DeGenova acting prosecutor following the retirement last year of Prosecutor Paul Gains.  Local Democratic Party leaders are scheduled to meet Saturday to fill the remaining two years of Gains' term.