Judge throws out harassment verdict against former sheriff

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) – A jury’s verdict in a sexual harassment case against that former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd has been thrown out.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett said the jury had no evidence on which to base the verdict because they found Byrd had not sexually harassed Deputy Kristen Seibert in May 2012, as she had claimed.

The Sun Herald reports Starrett’s ruling means Byrd no longer has to pay the $260,000 in damages the jury awarded Seibert for infliction of emotional distress.

Because Seibert could appeal the judge’s ruling to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Jackson County Attorney Ryan Frederick said the county would have no comment, beyond saying county officials are “satisfied” with the judge’s ruling.

One of Seibert’s attorneys said they will appeal the judge’s ruling.