Porter: No laws broken in Conway's check of Newton

LAWRENCEVILLE - District Attorney Danny Porter said the sheriff violated no laws when he paid an investigator to research the criminal history of a political foe.

According to Porter's investigation, Sheriff Butch Conway hired Lancaster Information Services to run the criminal history on Joe Newton, who ran a campaign against chairman's candidate Lorraine Green, a commissioner whom Conway supported.

Porter said no laws had been broken, but "I will leave the decision about the impropriety of these actions to others."

Conway said he simply used public records, which was the same method Newton and George Anderson used to file ethics complaints against both Conway and Green.

"I was being personally attacked and I fought back," Conway said. "What I did was totally legal."

Although Porter did determine who hired a second private investigation firm Huhn and Associates for a second check, Green admitted she asked for the history.

"If anyone had been stalked by Mr. Newton the way I had, they would have done the exact same thing," she said, saying her concern was justified when she saw the 80-page report, which included a misdemeanor assault conviction. "People with glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

Green lost the Republican primary runoff earlier this month, days after Conway held a press conference to defend himself and released the criminal history.

Anderson, of the Ethics in Government Group, said he wanted to pursue the situation further to see if Conway used public money or equipment in the situation.

"I'm trying to keep elected officials from betraying the public's trust," Anderson said. "(Conway) is a public servant. When he does something like that, he is serving political and personal purposes above the public."

Anderson said he has a meeting scheduled with Attorney General Thurbert Baker to discuss the issue today.