Gov. Kate Brown says the man who leaked former Gov. John Kitzhaber's emails to WW should not face criminal charges.
Brown says she believes state IT manager Michael Rodgers acted to protect public records after Kitzhaber's office requested in February that about 6,000 of Kitzhaber's emails be deleted from state computers and based on what she's read, his actions were not criminal.
"I think it's fair to say this decision was an extraordinary act made in an extraordinary situation," Brown tells WW. "It was something he did based on the lack of trust in the system around him. His intentions were good."
Rodgers went public with his story last week: He first prevented the emails from being deleted, and then copied them and gave them to WW after concluding someone might still try to remove the records from state servers.
Kitzhaber at the time was under state and federal investigation as part of an influence-peddling scandal, and Rodgers believed the emails contained information the public should have.
Rodgers has been on paid leave since February and faces a criminal investigation by the Oregon State Police.
Brown, who took office Feb. 18 after Kitzhaber resigned, says it would be inappropriate for her to interfere with the investigation of Rodgers but she expressed an opinion on whether a criminal case is worthwhile.
"Instead of wasting public resources and time in pursuing criminal charges in this case, we need to focus our resources on building trust and accountability in state government," Brown tells WW.
Updated at 1:50 pm with a statement from Michael Rodgers: