SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WENY) – Two years after Cal Harris, the man acquitted after a fourth murder trial, filed a lawsuit against Tioga County officials, a federal judge has ruled those officials must respond, according to WENY's media partner, the Star Gazette.

The lawsuit was filed in a Syracuse federal courthouse in 2017. In it, Harris blamed dozens of people, including police investigators and district attorney officials, for “malicious prosecution and civil rights violations”.

Initially, a lawyer for Tioga County officials argued in an October 2017 court filing that the lawsuit's accusations were filled with hyperbole and asked for a “more definite statement”.

However, Monday, U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd said Harris' lawsuit was clear enough and contained enough information for county officials to respond.

Harris was accused of murder years after the disappearance of his wife Michele on September 11, 2001. He was convicted twice, but those convictions were overturned. His third trial ended in a mistrial and during the fourth, he was acquitted.

Michele's body has never been found.

According to the Star Gazette, county officials have until September 8 to submit court documents in response.