Fayette attorney's hard drive erasure case thrown out

A special prosecutor has cleared former Fayette County Attorney Scott Bennett of charges that he illegally wiped information from the hard drives of two county-issued computers he used.

Charles A. Spahos, appointed as a temporary solicitor to investigate the case, entered a dismissal of the case Aug. 16, saying there was no evidence a theft had occurred as alleged.

Spahos, in a document dismissing the case against Bennett, noted that Bennett preserved the information on the hard drives by “printing hard copies of the information on each hard drive prior to having the hard drives cleaned.”

Spahos said then-County Administrator Jack Krakeel had the authority to authorize the hard drives be wiped because he supervised the county’s information systems director, who controls and maintains all county computers.

Previously county officials contended that Krakeel could not authorize the hard drive wipe because Bennett reported directly to the commissioners, not the county manager.

Bennett told The Citizen Tuesday that he left a hard copy of each document on his hard drives inside the filing cabinet of his former office at the county government complex.

“I have said all along that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Bennett said, blaming current Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown for trumping up the charges. “Now of course, Steve has had his way and there’s nothing wrong. Just more of him casting false aspersions about people like he always does. It seems to be a pattern with him: making false allegations against people.”

Bennett added that no one from Fayette County Government has called to ask him about a missing document.

“We now have a new ethical standard,” Brown lamented about the case. “As long as you erase the hard drive and then say “I’ve got a paper copy file somewhere on it, then we’re OK.”

Brown later added that the case “sets a dangerous precedent” averse to the state’s Open Records Law.

The probe also cleared Bennett of allegations that he committed “theft of services” by practicing law in four cases in Henry County which were unrelated to his job as county attorney. Spahos noted there is no evidence that Bennett practiced law during county work hours, so “no evidence of theft of services exists.”

Although those four cases happened during a time frame in which Bennett’s employment contract with the county prohibited him from working such outside cases without written permission, that is a civil matter and not a criminal one, Spahos noted.

The case was investigated by the Fayette County Marshal’s Department, which conducts internal investigations for the county.

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2012
Mr. Brown vs Bennett

Not one iota of apology? Now you cast stones at the special prosecutor claiming they are wrong. Typical.

How about a full page ad explaining how you were screwed once again while detailing the time and costs spent on this witch hunt due to your ego. The Tea Party can pay for this ad.

Here is your chance at redemption. Pass an ordinance that makes all county business to be monitored and backed up each day. Appoint someone responsible to be sure that no one is circumventing protocols and that no hard drives are ever whipped. Emails regarding county business will be sent and received by county email addresses only. Anyone caught not following proper protocol is immediately dismissed and their final paycheck withheld until all inspections are complete.

highflyer2
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Joined: 03/29/2007
I Too

I too had a case investigated by the Fayette County Marshal Dept. and out of the 10 "possible" violations they found only 1 was justified. I sure wish that a "special prosecutor" was called in to help me, but hey.....we were in the middle of a sheriffs race and certain people had to go!
The funny thing about it is that a year later I am in a better place where the "darkness" of politics doesn't show it UGLY face. A special event happened last night where I felt the need to send an email to a person that I use to hold great regards to, in that email I told him that after that event he would come out a Righteous man or a Politician. I have yet to hear the out come but trust me......come election time this mouth is going to do ALOT of talking!
Barry Lovett
Ex Constable of Fayette County