The attorney for fired Missoula County Sheriff's Deputy Paige Pavalone said on Wednesday that the case against the county and the sheriff's office has moved another step forward with the Montana Human Rights Bureau.

Josh Van de Wetering said the county asked to use specific reports from the sheriff's office and the Criminal Investigation Division in their response to Pavalone's lawsuit.

"They asked if we would object to them using the reports, even though they were confidential criminal justice information, and I responded hat I had never seen those reports, even though I had asked for them," Van de Wetering said. "The court released those to me and we did not object to those being used, and so now we are at a place where we are waiting for the county to file their answer on the Human Rights Bureau complaint."

Van de Wetering maintains that Pavalone's firing was politically motivated, due to her support for Josh Clark in the last election.

"We allege that Paige was fired for inappropriate reasons as a violation of her rights to have her own political views," he said. "Now, the county will file an answer and the Human Rights Bureau will conduct an investigation, and what happens next is up to what the Human Rights Bureau concludes."

Van de Wetering would not comment on a specific amount Pavalone might ask for should she be successful in her complaint.

"I have not come up with a number," he said. "Our position is since firing her and smearing her in the newspaper, it has cost her her whole career, so figure out what a career is worth for a woman who is in her early 30's, she was just starting out."

In her complaint filed in May, 2015, Pavalone alleges that she has been the victim of wrongful termination by Sheriff T.J. McDermott, wrongful discharge, discrimination on the basis of sex, tortuous interference with employment due to publication of a letter, libel and negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Van de Wetering said, now that the reports have been allowed in, he expects to hear back from the county soon.

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