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Kent Morgan

Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller wants to dig through a former employee's phone and banking records to prove she fired him for the right reasons.

Miller asked the county's Career Service Council earlier this month for subpoenas for the records to prove Kent Morgan, a 24-year veteran of the District Attorney's Office, was leaking confidential information to a criminal defendant.

Morgan, who has appealed his termination to the council, called the subpoenas a "wholly inappropriate fishing expedition," according to documents filed with the county's Career Service Council.

Morgan insists Miller's subpoena request proves she didn't have enough evidence to warrant his termination.

"If you didn't have enough evidence when you started, perhaps you didn't have enough evidence to begin with," Morgan's attorney, Phil Dyer, said.

"The county cannot bolster its case by seeking after-acquired evidence, when, to do so, would violate the Due Process Clauses contained in the U.S. and Utah Constitutions," the filing states.

Miller already has copies of Morgan's phone records from his work line and business cell line. Now, she wants the home records to bolster her case that Morgan leaked information to Steve Maese, who is scheduled to go to trial in July for allegedly running a prostitution ring.

If the council grants the subpoena, Morgan fears his personal phone records will "be subject to public scrutiny," since an average Joe can file a public records request for the documents.

"The privacy rights of (Morgan) and his spouse are being improperly, unduly and unnecessarily invaded without any justification or cause by the county," the filing states.

Maese and Morgan are friends who met during Morgan's 2006 election for district attorney. Morgan tapped Maese's marketing background to help him in his campaign.

After he lost, the friendship continued. But both Maese and Morgan insist no top-secret information about Maese's case was revealed.

They are friends who enjoy talking about politics, nothing more, they say.

But Morgan allegedly told Miller that he did provide some advice about Maese's prosecution, according to another document filed with the Career Service Council. That document alleges Morgan helped Maese pick his legal counsel and that Maese called him after court appearances.

Morgan never disclosed his relationship with Maese to anyone in the District Attorney's Office.

Miller fired Morgan in March for allegedly leaking confidential information to Maese. Maese apparently made a statement to police in 2006 that made them believe he knew information only prosecutors involved in screening the case would have known, according to the Morgan's termination letter. The letter does not specify what information Maese supposedly knew that only prosecutors would have known.

Morgan had a lot of phone contact with Maese, with more than 130 telephone calls between them in a 21-month span. The newspaper obtained Morgan's business phone and cell phone records through the Government Records Access and Management Act.

"Morgan's release of information violated professional standards and damaged the office's relationship with the law enforcement community," deputy district attorneys Valerie Wilde and Melanie Mitchell wrote to the Career Service Council.

Miller also wants access to bank records from Morgan's unsuccessful campaign for district attorney in 2006. Morgan lost to Miller during the Republican convention that year.

Morgan believes Miller fired him for political reasons, according to other filings with the career service council.


E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com