PITTSBURGH - A former deputy has sued Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, claiming he was wrongly fired after complaining about colleagues who allegedly lost their jobs for political reasons. Thomas G. Eddy, of McMurray, was a senior deputy attorney general in Pittsburgh until he was fired in May 2005.

Eddy contends that he overheard Corbett saying he wanted to get rid of the "dead wood" - referring to people Corbett wanted to fire - and that Corbett fired some employees for political reasons. Eddy claims Corbett fired him for voicing concerns about that, according to his federal lawsuit, filed Monday in Pittsburgh.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said yesterday that the office had not been served with the suit but was aware of Eddy's allegations. "We will vigorously defend the Attorney General's Office and Tom Corbett," Harley said.

Harley acknowledged that Corbett fired several deputies a few months after taking office in January 2005, but he said Corbett did so only after warning them about their performance. Those who did not improve, including Eddy, were fired, Harley said.