June 22nd, 2009 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall, CLEAN UP

Updated with Clarification: Attorney General John Kroger Tells Reporters Any Case "Was Too Weak to Charge."


Attorney General John Kroger stuck very closely to script in a noon press conference about the investigation report [PDF] his office released this morning regarding the 2005 relationship between Mayor Sam Adams and Beau Breedlove.

Kroger, a Democrat who won election in 2008, was very specific about what his investigators found during their five-month investigation: “insufficient evidence to charge Mayor Adams with a criminal offense.”

He was equally specific about what the report, which examined five possible theories of criminal conduct, did not do: “This report makes no assessment of Sam Adams' credibility,” Kroger says.

Kroger's investigators interviewed 57 witnesses, including speaking to Breedlove six times. Chief investigator Ron Nelson says Breedlove's story remained consistent throughout the interviews. He added that only one potential witness—Breedlove's former boyfriend, Mark Merkle—declined to cooperate.

Kroger acknowledged, however, that there is no guarantee any witness told the truth because of a quirk in Oregon law.

In Kroger's old job—he was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn—witnesses were told that lying to federal investigators was against the law. There is no such state statute in Oregon.

“It's an anomaly of Oregon law that you can lie to investigators,” Kroger says.

It is against the law to lie to a grand jury. But Kroger says there would have been no benefit to bringing both Adams and Breedlove to a grand jury under oath in hopes of reconciling their conflicting stories about whether they kissed in a City Hall bathroom before Breedlove turned 18. Kroger says that's because any testimony given to the grand jury would not have been usable at trial.

clarification: Kroger's spokesman, Tony Green, explains that grand juries are typically empaneled after the decision to charge a suspect has been made. He further adds that while anything Breedlove told a grand jury would have been admissible, Kroger had no ability to compel Adams to testify in front of grand jury or to give testimony that might incriminate himself.

“I determined that we would not convene a grand jury,” Kroger says.

Any such grand jury testimony, Kroger says, would have limited the amount of information available and done nothing to increase the likelihood of bringing charges.

In any case, Kroger says, there was simply no corroboration of Breedlove's claim or evidence that any crime related to a cover-up occurred.

“We conducted an extensive, comprehensive investigation,” Kroger says. The result was a case that “was too weak to charge.”
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