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MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2007
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No porn on Scott’s computer

By Steve Stewart
steve@decaturdaily.com · 340-2444

A computer forensic expert reported that he found no pornography or evidence of tampering on two computer hard drives from the office of Morgan County Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott.

Wade Morgan of Alabama Forensic Data Services in Hoover said he examined drives from computers used by Scott and Renee Fields, her chief clerk.

The examination included outgoing e-mails. He found no sign that a data-wiping program had been used to prevent recovery of data.

Scott and several other county officials refused to participate in his earlier examination of other county computers, saying theirs contained sensitive information.

But the County Commission, at Scott’s request, agreed to let her hire him for a separate inspection.

Taken to Birmingham

On Friday, Scott and her chief appraiser, Barry Willingham, took the hard drives to Birmingham and watched the examination. Morgan issued his report by e-mail Saturday to Scott and Jeff Clark, chairman pro tem of the County Commission. Scott released the results Sunday.

Morgan noted that he was not able to examine the county’s e-mail server because Sheriff Greg Bartlett objected.

“Any opinions on this matter are based on the information contained on the local computer hard drive,” he wrote. He defined pornography as images of genitalia or female breasts.

‘No misuse’

“It is my opinion based on the examination of the computers for review, that there is no misuse of the computers provided by Mrs. Scott,” he wrote.

Scott commented Sunday that her employees are professional and efficient and “I knew from the beginning that there was nothing inappropriate on our computer hard drives.”

The county’s earlier e-mail investigation followed an e-mail containing nudity sent by Human Resources Director Jack Underwood, who has since been fired, to Commission Chairman John Glasscock.

Wade Morgan found 98 inappropriate e-mails on Underwood’s computer and 50 on Glasscock’s. Glasscock apologized.

Web site visits

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George questioned visits from courthouse computers to al.com, a Web site that contains a forum whose anonymous postings often criticize county officials.

George produced records that showed 160 visits to al.com between Scott and an employee from June 1 to June 14, 2006. Wade Morgan’s report does not mention such postings.

George tried without success to get the commission to authorize a search of the county’s server for inappropriate e-mails. Then George filed suit seeking access to public records on the server.

Circuit Judge Steve Haddock last week refused to grant George a temporary restraining order and told him his suit has technical flaws, which George said he would correct.

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