A sexual-harassment lawsuit against Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., was dismissed in federal court on Tuesday, but the legal battle isn’t over yet for the embattled lawmaker.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein dismissed the charges against Hastings by Winsome Packer, an employee of the Helsinki Commission, which Hastings once chaired. But Rothstein said the case could continue against the commission itself.
The lawsuit, filed last year, has also evolved into a House Ethics Committee probe.
In the lawsuit, Packer claims she was “forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching” by Hastings. She sued last year, aided by the group Judicial Watch, and she also claimed she was retaliated against after she complained about the harassment. The retaliation charge was also dismissed on Tuesday.
Hastings cheered the ruling as a major victory. “In a race with a lie, the truth always wins,” he said in a statement. “Today, the truth prevailed in a court of law, and I am glad to see that these bogus allegations have finally been dismissed.”
He said the case Is “ridiculous, bizarre, frivolous, and has wasted – and is still wasting – a whole lot of folks’ time and money.”
Rothstein ruled that Hastings had no personal liability in the case.
Jim Peterson, an attorney for Packer, vowed to fight on, calling the decision “just a step along the way.”
“The decision in no way ruled on the veracity of Ms. Packer’s claims and in no way exonerates Rep. Hastings,” Peterson said.
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