Wednesday, March 2, 2011

D.A. Patrick Flaherty Wants Documents Back From the Bulletin

In a press conference this morning, D.A. Patrick Flaherty announced a grand jury investigation into improper information released to the Bulletin.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 11:14 PM

When the District Attorney calls a morning press conference but the announcement says nothing about the purpose of the gathering, we tend to think there’s something big to be announced.

Could it be an arrest in the fatal hit and run on Third Street? Or maybe something about the Redmond police lieutenant that allegedly sold guns out of the back of the armory?

Nope. None of those things. It turns out that this morning's conference had to do with a story that broke in today's Bulletin about documents pertaining to new hires in the district attorney’s office. That story also stated that a Bulletin reporter, Hillary Borrud, had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury on Friday.

In the press conference this morning, DA Patrick Flaherty read from a prepared statement that had been handed out to the assembled media (which included both television stations, OPB, local news radio, the Source and The Bulletin), saying that the hiring information provided to our daily paper featured personal information, including phone numbers, addresses and driver’s license numbers.

Flaherty’s office asked that the documents be returned so that the personal information be redacted, then given back to the newspaper.

But Flaherty says the newspaper has not returned the documents.

“It is unclear as to why The Bulletin is refusing to return the documents for the purpose of redacting private information their own legal counsel acknowledges was received in error,” Flaherty said.

What’s perhaps more interesting than the flap with The Bulletin is when Flaherty said: “We do not know if the release of this confidential information was simply a mistake or intentional. That is the focus of the Grady Jury investigation.”

So it sounds like Flaherty’s office wants to know who sent out these documents with all this information, and also, why they did it.

After he finished reading the statement, Flaherty stood up, unclipped the microphone a television station had given him, and left the room, not answering the questions fired off by Bulletin reporter Scott Hammers, who had written that morning’s article.

…Just when you thought the D.A.’s office was starting to get boring.

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