- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The leaders of the Board of Regents have retained private lawyers to defend themselves against an open meetings lawsuit stemming from the University of Iowa presidential search.

Documents filed Monday show that the Nyemaster, Goode law firm is representing Board President Bruce Rastetter, Board Pro Tem Katie Mulholland and former regent Mary Andringa in their individual capacities.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office had already been defending five regents named in the lawsuit, which alleges a majority of the board met illegally with Bruce Harreld before his hiring as UI president in 2015.

The regents have said the meetings didn’t violate the open meetings law because five of them never met Harreld at once. Instead, four regents met with Harreld in two separate meetings at Rastetter’s business. Rastetter met with Harreld on other dates.

Board spokesman Josh Lehman says some regents have chosen to retain counsel at their own expense while the attorney general’s office will continue to represent them in their official capacities.

Public officials can be ordered to pay fines and legal fees for open meetings violations.

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