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Feds, Forsyth sheriff settle lawsuit over firing

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Forsyth County is settling a federal lawsuit alleging its sheriff improperly fired a deputy less than a year after he returned from military service in Iraq.

The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that Forsyth County and Sheriff William Schatzman will pay $96,000 in lost wages to former Sgt. Michael Russell. Schatzman will provide a reference letter stating Russell met or exceeded job expectations.

Forsyth County and Schaztman deny violating federal law protecting veterans.

Schatzman said in court papers last summer he fired Russell in 2010 because he was disloyal. Russell was among a group of former deputies who unsuccessfully tried to push the Legislature to change a state law letting sheriffs hire and fire employees at will.

Gov. Pat McCrory named Schatzman on Thursday to his Emergency Response Commission.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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