Attorneys sometimes call it a document dump. But reporters requested it and we got it – 8,562 pages of flight records, e-mails, and transcripts.
Defense Attorney Thomas Carr said, “It seems to be all the raw data, all the raw materials, without conclusions or suppositions.”
The big question – who knew what in the alleged attempt to smear then-Senator Joe Bruno by leaking his travel records to the press?
“The same question, phrased two different ways, could get two different answers,” said Carr, who has followed the case.
And though it doesn’t look like there are any smoking guns per se, there are plenty of conflicting stories.
The first few hundred pages, special counsels and the counsel to the governor give slightly different stories to the Attorney General’s Office on whether Spitzer’s Communication Director Darren Dopp truly swore that a statement he gave was the truth.
“Let’s say he swore to something,” said Carr. “If his answer was, ‘as best as I can recall,’ or ‘I believe that,’ there may be room if he’s mistaken or a memory problem, well there shouldn’t be a concern. If he’s making definitive statements that are sworn, that could be a problem.”
In that statement, Dopp said he never directed State Police to conduct surveillance of Bruno, but he did receive information on Bruno’s travels from the State Police.
Carr said, “The question wasn’t so much whether they were monitoring it or how they were – it’s the way they went about using that information.”
There are e-mails too. The then-acting State Police Superintendent Preston Felton responded to a question from William Howard, the governor’s liaison to the State Police, telling him Bruno did have some security concerns in the past. After that, Preston e-mailed another trooper – Gary Berwick who later committed suicide – to get more details, something Carr said could shift the burden away from the police.
Carr said, “They thought perhaps the monitoring had to be done because there were some form of threats.”
Governor Spitzer’s e-mails were also released, in which he apparently used the name “Laurence” on May 27, 2007 saying he wanted to “discuss a post-session strategy re bruno and travel generally” with Dopp. Spitzer has denied orchestrating a smear campaign against Bruno.
“Anyone involved, including former Governor Spitzer could be called to testify before an administrative law judge,” said Carr.
With a number of investigations like the Public Ethics Commission still going and thousands of pages to be continually analyzed, this story isn’t going away anytime soon.