Gloves are off between local developer and county attorney

Published: May. 16, 2018 at 9:27 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2018 at 10:09 PM EDT
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Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
Chris Thieneman (Source: Doug Druischke, WAVE 3 News)
Chris Thieneman (Source: Doug Druischke, WAVE 3 News)
The Kentucky Primary Election is Tuesday, May 22.
The Kentucky Primary Election is Tuesday, May 22.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a war of words between two high profile Louisvillians.

The gloves are off between developer Chris Thieneman and Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell. The fight between the two men is now hitting the court docket.

Thieneman filed a lawsuit against O'Connell on Wednesday, he announced at an event outside the Hall of Justice.

Thieneman is calling O'Connell a bully and O'Connell is calling Thieneman a domestic violence perpetrator. The lawsuit stems from an incident alleging that O'Connell made comments about Thieneman on May 1 at an event downtown.

In 2013, Thieneman was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend and charged with assault fourth degree and wanton endangerment -- both misdemeanors. The Jefferson County Attorney's Office prosecuted the case.

After a lengthy court process, he went to trial in 2016 and was found guilty of wanton endangerment. The jury found him not guilty of assault. He could have been sentenced to pay a maximum of $500, or to spend 365 days in jail. The jury chose to sentence him to pay the maximum fine of $500.

In 2017, the Jefferson County Circuit Court upheld his conviction.

The battle between the two has been going on for some time. Thieneman is critical of O'Connell's handling of the Louisville Metro Police Department Explorer case, which was the basis of his event Wednesday.

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"I know you {O'Connell} can be scary sometimes, but we are not going to back down," Thieneman said.

Thieneman has had an unsuccessful political career. O'Connell is running for re-election. He faces a challenger in the May 22 primary.

O'Connell sent WAVE 3 News the following statement:

"Chris Thieneman is a convicted domestic violence perpetrator. A jury convicted Chris Thieneman and a higher court upheld that conviction in a case where he strangled a woman. The lawsuit is without merit and is politically motivated by a person who attacked a woman and now has a criminal conviction on his record due the work of the lawyers in our office. I am not intimidated by this classic domestic violence bullying tactic and I wear this lawsuit as a badge of honor for the thousands of domestic violence victims that our office helps every year. The timing is not lost on anyone either in light of the fact that this offender has actively worked against me since his conviction and is promoting my opponent."

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