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VeriSign lied in ICANN race case

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A Virginia court has ordered a retrial in the case of VeriSign's ICANN point man, who was dismissed by VeriSign in February 2001.

In January a Virginia court ruled in favor of VeriSign in an unfair dismissal case brought by the former Network Solutions employee, Michael Johnson, who served as Director of Internet Relations. Johnson alleged racial discrimination after he was laid off in February 2001 and requesting $165 million in damages.

A judge has overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial because senior VeriSign executives fabricated evidence. VeriSign staff testified that Johnson was on a "list", but could provide no written evidence of the list. They then argued that the list was mental or verbal, arguments the Judge described "patently false" and "meritless". The ruling can be found here.

Johnson alleged that VeriSign violated the ICANN agreement, but denied he was a whistle-blower.

With Congress focussing on ICANN, one of whose most contentious decisions was extending VeriSign's .com domain (the company relinquishes .org this year and .net in 2005), the decision couldn't have come at a worse time. ®

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