Grand jury inquiry costs mount

The costs of a grand jury inquiry into the release of Deschutes County district attorney’s records are mounting as the investigation enters its third week.

County officials are preparing to hire an outside attorney to advise them on the investigation because they believe their legal department is the target of the grand jury. Meanwhile, county staff spent 87 hours gathering records they were ordered to provide to the grand jury last week, according to information the county released Tuesday.

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DA subpoenas 3 county employees

In what legal experts call an unusual move, the Deschutes County district attorney subpoenaed at least three county employees to appear Monday before a grand jury.

District Attorney Patrick Flaherty ordered employees, including the county attorney and the information technology director, to bring to the grand jury information related to public records requests.

Flaherty’s decision to go to a grand jury came after a request by The Bulletin last week to see the applications of recently hired employees in the District Attorney’s Office. Some applications contain employees’ driver’s license numbers. The county did not redact the numbers, but later e-mailed The Bulletin to say the numbers are considered “personal information” under state law. On Thursday, Flaherty wrote a letter to The Bulletin in which he accused county employees of breaking the law by releasing the applications.

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