ABC11 sues to see trooper texts

July 20, 2010 6:41:53 AM PDT
ABC11 and other media organization have asked a Wake County Superior Court judge to release all text messages between a former Highway Patrol major and his secretary.

The lawsuit before Judge Paul Gessner challenges Highway Patrol officials who have only released some messages between former Major Everett Clendenin and a subordinate.

Clendenin - once the main spokesperson for the Patrol - resigned June 23 after he was placed on administrative leave while officials investigated a hundreds of text messages he sent to the woman who is married to another Highway Patrol trooper.

The flirtatious messages suggested an inappropriate relationship, but Clendenin told ABC11 in a statement that was not the case.

"There was never any physical contact between us. They were meaningless texts. It was wrong, inappropriate and unprofessional. It should not have happened. I am sorrowful for my actions. I am deeply hurt about my actions and the embarrassment they have caused the organization."

Highway Patrol officials said disclosure laws don't require it to turn over text messages received on a state-issued phone when the messages involve personal discussions.

But ABC11's attorney said messages sent during work hours to a state-issued device by state employees are public record.

Judge Gessner did not say when he planned to rule on the issue.

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