- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a Georgia case about whether government officials are protected from civil lawsuits, even if they tell lies that lead a grand jury to vote for an indictment.

The justices heard arguments in an appeal from Charles Rehberg, an accountant who was indicted three times involving charges that he harassed doctors affiliated with a politically connected south Georgia hospital system.

After the third indictment was dismissed even before a trial, Mr. Rehberg sued local prosecutors and their investigator, James Paulk. Mr. Rehberg argues that Mr. Paulk’s false grand jury testimony led to the indictments.

At issue in the high court is whether the grand jury setting for Mr. Paulk’s allegedly false testimony gives him immunity from Mr. Rehberg’s lawsuit.