Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2007

Morrison accuser denies leaking word of affair

December 20, 2007

TOPEKA - The attorney representing the woman whose sexual harassment allegations toppled Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison said Monday he doesn't know who leaked her statement to the media.

"It absolutely was not from us," said Brian Russell, the Lawrence attorney who represents Linda Carter. "We are disappointed that somebody who ethically and professionally should be looking out to protect the confidentiality of a complainant's complaint didn't."

Carter said she had a two-year extramarital affair with Morrison and accused him of sexual harassment and trying to use her to spy on his nemesis, Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline, according to reports.

Morrison admitted to having the affair but denied harassing her or breaching his professional ethics as a lawyer.

But as several investigations into the matter started to gear up, Morrison announced Friday he was resigning from office, effective Jan. 31.

His downfall started Dec. 9 when the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Carter had filed a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Morrison. And the story referred to a signed statement by Carter that detailed their affair.

The paper never has said where it got the information.

Carter had been director of administration for Morrison when he was Johnson County district attorney. When Morrison defeated Kline in 2006 for attorney general, Kline was chosen by Johnson County Republicans to fill Morrison's unexpired term, so Carter then worked for Kline.

Several days after the Capital-Journal report, Harris News Service reported that Carter had told Kline about her relationship with Morrison, and that an investigator from Kline's office took sworn testimony from her on Nov. 1. She left her job in Kline's office on Nov. 30. Harris News also has not revealed the source of its information.

Both news organizations have also reported that Carter said Morrison called her 22 times one day, threatening to try to destroy her effort to get a job in another state.

Carter's attorney, Russell, declined to speculate on who might have leaked information to the news organizations. He said he was upset the information became public.

"We never did anything to get this handled in public," he said.

"Any signed statement from her would have been given with the absolute expectation that it would have been held in confidence," he said.

Kline's spokesman Brian Burgess said the office would not comment on the situation.

Records concerning the case could be in several offices. In addition to the federal EEOC complaint, Morrison has asked for an investigation into himself by the agency that monitors lawyers.

And Kline has received permission from Johnson County commissioners to hire a special prosecutor to investigate allegations concerning threatening phone calls and blackmail.

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