LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has been ordered to pay more than $86,000 in attorney’s fees and costs as part of a lawsuit over Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s emails.

District Court Judge Maria Gall awarded $86,284.90 to Due Diligence Group, the plaintiff in a lawsuit over campaign emails to political consultants sent by Lombardo using his county-provided phone.

The lawsuit centered on releasing the emails to the public. Metro argued that the emails were not related to his job as sheriff and challenged that they were public records. Some of the emails were released, showing correspondence with campaign consultants.

The ruling was issued on Oct. 19, days before early voting began in the 2022 general election that pits Lombardo, a Republican, against incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak in one of the election’s tightest races.

The judge in the case could have awarded much more, but she took issue with what she saw as overcharging for attorney’s fees. She chopped claims for more than 100 hours of “unreasonable” billed time, setting the rate at $412.50 per hour. In the end, that decision will save Clark County taxpayers thousands of dollars.

“A significant issue in this litigation — perhaps the significant issue — concerned whether the LVMPD had failed to disclose all e-mails between Sheriff Lombardo and his campaign consultants that constituted public records,” Judge Gall said in her ruling.

“There can be no reasonable dispute that the Group prevailed on that issue and by doing so achieved at least some of the benefit it sought in bringing this lawsuit. Accordingly, the Group is entitled to an award of fees. Even the LVMPD appears to concede this point,” Gall said.

Attorneys for Due Diligence said some emails that were released revealed that Lombardo failed to confine his use of his taxpayer-funded cellphone to matters that were work-related. Metro countered that previous court rulings allowed personal use of the phone if it didn’t incur additional charges.

The Due Diligence Group’s website says “we specialize in using public records research to provide our clients with the knowledge and insights needed to drive strategic decision making.” The company says it uses the Freedom of Information Act law to benefit clients including political campaigns, marketing firms, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.