Alexandria Public Safety Director Charles T. Strobel has dropped Alexandria Port Packet reporter Alicia Mundy as a defendant in his $1.4 million libel suit.
Strobel's attorney, David Fiske, said yesterday that the claims against Mundy, who first reported the allegations that Strobel had mishandled a drug investigation in 1984 by Alexandria police, were dropped in order "to move the case quickly."
"We haven't given up our ability to move against her," he said. "I would anticipate another suit" by Strobel.
A special grand jury, which investigated allegations against Strobel, reported last month that there was no evidence to support them.
On March 1, Strobel filed his libel suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria against two former police officers, two police officers still on the force and their attorney, as well as Mundy. The suit charged that they had conspired to spread "a packet of false, scandalous, malicious and defamatory rumors" about Strobel.
The libel suit was in response to a suit filed Jan. 30 in the same court against Strobel and the city of Alexandria by police officers Joseph Morrash and Morton Ford and former police detective Charles Cox.
That suit charged Strobel with "abuse of office" and with violating the civil rights of the three police officers.
Mundy's lawyer, Brian Gettings, said yesterday that he was notified Tuesday that his client was no longer a defendant in the case.
In a related development, Fiske questioned City Councilman Donald C. Casey yesterday for 5 1/2 hours in a pretrial deposition in connection with the libel suit.
Casey said Fiske questioned him about "what I'd been doing with the investigation" of Strobel.
Casey was the first to tell City Council members in a closed session Dec. 11 of allegations that Strobel had mishandled the drug investigation.
Casey and Mayor Charles E. Beatley later pushed for a council investigation into the allegations.
Casey said Strobel was present during the questioning.
Beatley said his deposition, which was originally set for today, had been postponed, at the request of Strobel's lawyers.