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Earlier this month, 20-year-old gay Groves, Texas, City Council member Cross Coburn was pushed out of office in a recall election that occurred after his nude Grindr photos were anonymously sent to City Hall. Now Coburn is suing in state court, alleging that the election results were invalid due to "deficiencies, fraud, and forgery," according to the Associated Press.
The city of Groves (about 100 miles east of Houston) and the town clerk, Kimbra Lowery, are named as defendants in the suit. Coburn's attorney Jill Swearingen Pierce has accused Groves Mayor Brad Bailey and others on the City Council of leaking the photos to spur a recall petition to oust Coburn. Meanwhile, Coburn said in no uncertain terms that he believes he was targeted because he is gay.
"They thought this was a very surefire way to get me out of office," Coburn said earlier this week.
"I felt like I was being harassed, being discriminated against because I'm a young gay man on City Council. ... That is my personal life and no one should know about it," Coburn told TV station KFDM. "I'm sorry if anyone took it the wrong way, but it's really nothing more complex than this is my personal life."
The lawsuit against the town and town clerk was filed November 14 following Coburn's loss in the recall election. It alleges that photos used in private communication on the dating app Grindr were utilized to push him off the City Council.
The lawsuit also challenges the authenticity of signatures on the petition for the recall election. Three people whose names are on the petition said they never signed it, while some residents signed the petition twice and others signed for themselves and for their spouse, the AP reports.
Bailey could not be reached for comment regarding the lawsuit, but in an interview in September, he criticized Coburn for his private life.
"I think you should be held to a higher position up here, and his track record speaks for itself," Bailey said at the time.