MOUNT VERNON — “Simply put, John Freshwater is not credible,” begins the post-hearing brief composed by David Millstone, attorney for the Mount Vernon City Schools.
The brief continues with a “Statement of Facts,” discusses conflicting statements from different witnesses, and, using references from the hearing transcript, enumerates several instances where Freshwater apparently contradicted himself in sworn testimony.
Millstone also outlines the reasons for, and testimony concerning, the allegations that Freshwater pursued his religious point of view in the classroom, overstepped his bounds as a monitor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was demonstratively insubordinate.
As did Freshwater’s lawyer Kelly Hamilton, Millstone cites what he considers to be relevant case law and legal precedents, quotes testimony from the hearing and includes charts. He also synopsizes testimony from the board’s expert witnesses, gives excerpts from Freshwater’s speech on Public Square in April 2008 and quotes from Freshwater’s appearance on Fox News with Larry Elder.
Millstone concludes by writing, “At the outset of the hearing, Mr. Freshwater’s counsel proclaimed the referee would have to analyze credibility and what needs to be looked at is: ‘What makes sense . . . .?’ (Transcript pages 20, 32)
“In this brief, we have only gone through some of the inconsistencies and different stories by Mr. Freshwater. His story evolved and changed during the hearing process. A number of things he admits when meeting with Mr. Short [superintendent of Mount Vernon City Schools] and Mr. White [principal, Mount Vernon Middle School] or HR OnCall [independent private investigation firm] or even during his testimony in October 2008 began to evolve during the hearing process and as he is lead [sic] through the script of his story by his counsel. The stories don’t match up. Not all of his stories can be true. As we said at the outset, John Freshwater is not credible. What he says does not make sense.”
In a reply brief, Hamilton responded that the matter is not about Freshwater’s credibility. He wrote, “Representatives for the [board of education] have failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence or any lesser standard that John Freshwater violated any policy of the BOE.”
Hamilton implied that Millstone’s brief was propaganda and stated it made “prolific use of the following fallacies attempting to swindle an unsuspecting reader. ” Hamilton said Millstone’s brief also contained errors in statement of facts, “makes arbitrary assertions, appeals to ignorance, and attempts to foist the burden of proof onto John Freshwater.”
Hamilton also contests the testimony of the board’s expert witnesses, calling them unqualified.
He concludes, “John Freshwater was not willfully nor persistently in violation of any identified reasonable regulation of the BOE; nor do any of his actions constitute other good and just cause based upon the requisite intent. Therefore, all specifications in the BOE’s Amended Resolution of Intent to Consider the Termination of the Teaching Contract(s) of John Freshwater must be deemed unsubstantiated.”