St. Louis Public Radio News
6:48 am
Tue December 23, 2008

Blunt, AG's office settle e-mail lawsuit

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri governor Matt Blunt has agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused him of denying access to his office's e-mails.

Under the settlement, Blunt will provide two special prosecutors appointed by a Cole County judge and working for Attorney General Jay Nixon with copies of e-mails the administration had deleted. It's data already provided to news organizations that had joined the lawsuit.

The e-mail controversy began last year when Blunt's former staff attorney, Scott Eckersley, was fired - because, he alleges, he warned the administration that deleting e-mails might violate the state's Sunshine and records retention laws. Blunt says Eckersley was fired for doing personal work on state time. The lawsuit settlement does not require Blunt to admit any violation of state law.

"Through no fault of the governor's office, Missourians have been charged more than 600-thousand dollars for tens of thousands of email documents that really prove the governor's office was telling the truth," said Blunt's press secretary Jessica Robinson.

A spokesman for Nixon did not return calls for comment.