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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Rep. Chris Cannon wants a judge to seal documents in a lawsuit claiming he owes wages of more than $100,000 to employees of a failed Internet consulting firm he helped bankroll called CFour Communications Inc.
The company's attorneys argue the two former employees have threatened to leak sensitive information to "blackmail" the Utah County congressman. "Such abuse of the court's power is reprehensible and should not be allowed," their brief says.
Cannon said the goal of one-time creative director Chet Poulton and David Scholes, another one-time employee suing, "is to get publicity that draws attention. My goal is get this resolved."
The request for a protective order was filed Wednesday in 4th District Court.
It responds to a motion asking Judge Lynn Davis to order Cannon and CFour executives to submit to depositions and turn over correspondence and e-mails. CFour and Cannon want the employee's lawyer to sign a confidentiality agreement first.
"I can't adequately represent my clients if I sign what they want me to sign," said Mark McCarty, who represents Poulton and Scholes. "It would mean I couldn't even talk to anyone."
Poulton claims Cannon and the company owe him $76,000 to $87,500 in unpaid wages while Scholes alleges he was stiffed for some $36,000.
A key issue in the case is Cannon's level of involvement in CFour, which stood for Conservative Campaign Consulting and Communications. Cannon, a venture capitalist, never was listed as an officer or director of the company and says he played no active role in its operation.
Cannon has said he's written off his $1 million investment in CFour.
Poulton and Scholes filed suit in October of 2002 just before an election Cannon easily won over Democrat Nancy Jane Woodside.
Cannon's 3rd district covers parts of central Utah and the west desert and has a population base in Utah County.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)