CHICAGO — The Chicago Police lieutenant married to embattled former superintendent Eddie Johnson has refused to accept a subpoena to testify in the civil case where Johnson is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a subordinate officer, according to recent federal court filings.
Attorneys for the officer suing Johnson, Cynthia Donald, said in a motion this week that a process server made at least nine attempts to serve a subpoena to Johnson’s wife, Lt. Nakia Fenner, between mid-April and early May.
“Clearly, Ms. Fenner, an officer of the Chicago Police Department, is playing games,” Donald’s attorneys wrote in a motion for alternate service filed Tuesday.
“It is my professional opinion that she is evading process service,” the process server said in an attached affidavit.
On Wednesday, a federal judge OK’d a request from Donald’s attorneys that allows them to serve Fenner’s subpoena via certified mail.
Donald’s attorneys want Fenner to sit for a deposition and testify under oath about a domestic incident that occurred at Johnson and Fenner’s home in Bridgeport in October 2020. After calling 911, Fenner told responding officers that the former superintendent lit several pieces of her clothing on fire in the couple’s bedroom during an argument “over their relationship,” according to CPD records.
An officer wrote that Fenner did not want Johnson arrested “because she felt he was acting out due to extra stress in his life and [Fenner] only wanted [to file] a report.” The officer also wrote that Fenner claimed Johnson “battered her 3 times in the past but she did not report the incidents.”
Earlier this month, Fenner told Johnson “that she would not sit for a deposition absent a court order,” according to the motion from Donald’s attorneys.
Fenner did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.
She and Johnson married in October 2017 as the former superintendent was recovering from kidney transplant surgery. Johnson was married once before — to another current CPD officer — and that ex-wife has already testified in a deposition, according to Donald’s attorneys.
Donald’s lawsuit alleges that Johnson subjected her to sexual assault and harassment while she was assigned to the former superintendent’s detail.
Donald also claims that she was reassigned — at Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s direction — after Johnson was involved in an embarrassing drinking-and-driving incident near his Bridgeport home in October 2019. Lightfoot fired Johnson two months later, weeks before he was scheduled to retire from the CPD.
After the lawsuit was filed, a spokesperson for the city’s Law Department issued a statement saying in part: “Mayor Lightfoot emphatically denies, and common sense dictates, that Eddie Johnson ever told the Mayor about allegations of abuse or harassment of Cynthia Donald by Eddie Johnson.”
In his own statement, Johnson also flatly denied the allegations, calling the charges “dehumanizing towards true victims who have truly suffered sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.
“The claims are an affront to everything I believe in and stand for,” Johnson added.
Attorneys for both Johnson and Donald also wanted Lightfoot to sit for a deposition in the case. Eventually, a judge ordered that questions for Lightfoot would have to be submitted in writing instead.