A federal judge has ordered Mayor Vince Gray to give a deposition in a lawsuit over the lottery contract, dismissing Gray’s objections that it would be an “undue burden” for him to take part.

Judge Richard Roberts upheld a previous court ruling ordering Gray to be deposed in Eric Payne‘s wrongful termination case. A former city official, Payne says he was unfairly fired for protesting the behind-the-scenes politicking over the contract. Roberts also ruled that Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham needs to talk, but Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans doesn’t. Roberts also limited the scope of the deposition to conversations Gray and Graham may have had specifically about Payne and his city employment and not about their more general “review of the lottery contract.”

Payne, who used to work for Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi, says Gray and Graham put pressure on Gandhi to have him fired. You’ll remember that Payne secretly recorded a conversation with one of his bosses saying:

“Jim Graham is on a personal vendetta here and, you know, he thinks the way to get what he wants is to find a way to discredit the people that were involved in the process. And he doesn’t care who that involves. Umm, because for Gray and Graham, this is all personal. This is about their friends, or who is not their friends for Graham.”

Both Gray and Graham say Payne’s claims are untrue.

Interestingly enough, Roberts is probably pretty familiar with city affairs. He was one of the prosecutors in the government’s drug case against former Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry.

The ruling:

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Photo by Darrow Montgomery