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No Charges Expected in Ex-Rep. Foley's Page Scandal

Friday, 19 Sep 2008 11:51 AM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After an exhaustive two-year investigation, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley isn't expected to face charges for sending salacious messages to underage pages, two federal law enforcement officials have told The Associated Press.

Results of a state investigation were to be announced Friday. An FBI investigation hasn't been closed, but the officials said neither state nor federal charges were expected. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Foley resigned in 2006 after being confronted with the e-mails and instant messages he sent to pages. He has been under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.

Foley's attorney, David Roth, has acknowledged that Foley sent the messages to the teens, but says the Florida Republican never had inappropriate contact with minors. Roth had no comment on the pending announcement.

In the wake of Foley's resignation, Roth announced Foley was gay and had been molested by a priest as a teenage altar boy. Foley also checked himself into an Arizona treatment facility for what his attorneys called "alcoholism and other behavioral problems."

Foley represented parts of Palm Beach County for 12 years. He has kept a low profile since emerging from rehabilitation late last year but occasionally has been seen in the Palm Beach area, where he lives with his boyfriend.

Foley was seen as a shoo-in for re-election in 2006. His resignation received national attention as Democrats were trying to regain power in the House. Democrat Tim Mahoney won the election after Republicans had just weeks to select a new candidate to replace Foley, whose name remained on the ballot.

Then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and other Republican leaders were criticized for their handling of the Foley matter. Hastert claimed he did not learn of Foley's explicit messages until the scandal broke. However, a House ethics committee concluded in December 2006 that Hastert actually had heard about the messages months earlier, as had other Republicans, but the panel did not find that anyone broke rules.

Florida authorities were hampered in their investigation because neither Foley nor the House would let investigators examine his congressional computers.

In a letter to the FDLE obtained by The Associated Press, House Deputy General Counsel Kerry Kircher wrote that because the data "may contain legislative information that is constitutionally privileged ... and because Mr. Foley has not waived that privilege ... we cannot simply give you access."

The state also later reached out to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking help to examine the computers, but were rebuffed again.

The Florida agency had been working with the FBI and Foley's attorneys to gain access to information on the computers. Foley's attorneys have declined to comment throughout the investigation.

Foley himself was the only person who could release the computers for review, but he had refused. It was not immediately clear what information from the computers investigators had been able to review — if any — before finishing their investigation.

House officials said they did not find any sexually explicit photos in a review of some e-mails Foley sent and received through his congressional account, but the e-mails did not include all of Foley's communications.

Some may have been deleted from the main congressional computer server but would likely still have been accessible from an examination of the actual computer hard drives.

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