As The Oregonian reported earlier today, a Marion County grand jury decided not to charge former Assistant Attorney General Brent Foster with a crime for his conduct in a Hood River County case.
Foster, formerly the director of Columbia Riverkeeper and one of Attorney General John Kroger’s highest-profile hires after Kroger won election in 2008, greeted the Marion County announcement with this statement:
“I am obviously very pleased with the grand jury’s decision. But it is unfortunate that this has taken almost eight months of my life. After over 10 years of environmental litigation, I made a mistake, voluntarily reported it to my employer and voluntarily resigned as a result. I have dealt with this mistake as best I could and look forward to moving on.”
Late this afternoon, however, Kroger issued this statement suggesting he’s less than thrilled with his one-time protege:
The fact that no criminal charges were brought against Brent Foster does not excuse his conduct.
Brent Foster resigned from the Department of Justice in April 2010 after acknowledging that he misrepresented his involvement in the investigation of a criminal case, State v. Ryan/Hood River Juice. That case was subsequently concluded when the owner of Hood River Juice pleaded guilty to two crimes: supplying false information to an agency and criminal water pollution. The same day Mr. Foster resigned, I referred the matter to Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau for any necessary investigation. I also asked Dale Koch, former Presiding Judge of Multnomah County Circuit Court, to conduct a comprehensive and independent review of Mr. Foster’s work at the Department of Justice. Now that District Attorney Beglau’s investigation is closed, I expect Judge Koch’s report to be released before the end of the year.
Earlier this year, District Attorney Beglau requested that the Department of Justice not release any records related to Mr. Foster in response to public records requests until the criminal process was completed, so as to avoid compromising his investigation. Now that the investigation is complete, the Department of Justice will begin releasing requested documents related to Mr. Foster’s work before the end of the year.