A federal lawsuit against convicted Philadelphia-area gay basher Kathryn Knott, her cop father, and the Bucks County, Pa., district attorney — alleging they teamed up to retaliate against a woman posting negative comments about Knott — can proceed, a U.S. district judge ruled last week.
Kathleen O'Donnell says she was fired from her job, thanks to the Knotts conspiring with the D.A.'s office to punish her for her posts, the Philly Voice reports.
After Knott was arrested for the bashing — she would end up serving five months in jail for paticipating in a mob-like beating that left one man unconscious and his jaw shattered — O'Donnell began commenting on news stories related to the Knott case. O'Donnell created an avatar featuring an unflattering picture of Knott and would leave comments that included "I’m an entitled princess who can beat up gay people if I want to" and "My daddy the chief of police will get me out of those charges because I’m an entitled girl and don’t deserve any charges or jail time. Orange doesn’t suit my complexion."
Knott's father, Karl Knott, then a police chief in Bucks County, allegedly contacted the then-Bucks County D.A., David Heckler, to help track down the online commenter. Two detectives, Martin McDonough and Mark Zielinski, got a warrant from the D.A.'s office that allowed them to trace the poster's IP address, leading them to O'Donnell.
O'Donnell says McDonough and Zielinksi came to her workplace and threatened her with criminal charges if she did not stop posting as Knott. O'Donnell says she was later fired because she was visited at work by detectives.
Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg declined to dismiss the case, telling the Knotts there was enough evidence of a conspiracy for the lawsuit to proceed. The former D.A. and the two detectives also tried to get themselves removed from the case, to no avail.
As the Philly Voice points out, Knott was the only person to serve jail time for the horrific attack. Two other defendants, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, accepted plea deals, allowing them to be sentenced to probation and community service.