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Police and Fire Pension Accuses Morning News Reporter of Secretly Recording Meeting

Oh, this is delicious. The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has filed court papers claiming that Steve Thompson, a Dallas Morning News reporter, surreptitiously left a running recording device in the Pension System’s boardroom and that Thompson caught confidential attorney-client communication on said device. Now the Pension System wants to depose Thompson. But there are so many questions rasied by the summary of the filing. The two biggest are: 1) why does the Pension System think Thompson recorded their private conversation? And 2) why does Robert Witte, the Strasburger & Price attorney representing the Pension System, rely on a crutch word whose meaning he doesn’t understand? To wit from Witte:

“The subject matter of the anticipated litigation arises from Thompson’s action on April 11, 2013 of leaving a digital recording device (which was operating in ‘record’ mode at the time) in petitioner’s Board Meeting Room, even as Thompson purportedly left petitioner’s premises for the day. Thompson’s digital recording device continued to record after petitioner’s Board Meeting concluded, and the recording includes privileged and confidential attorney/client communication between petitioner and its counsel.

“Upon recovering his digital recording device, Thompson purportedly downloaded the recorded content — including those privileged and confidential attorney/client communications that took place with a reasonable expectation of privacy — onto his computer. Thompson has also purportedly destroyed the original recording prior to providing petitioner access to it.”

Update (5:13) — Morning News editor Bob Mong confirmed that Thompson did, indeed, leave his recorder at the Pension System. Mong said it was an accident. When Thompson realized what he’d done, he called the Pension System’s spokeswoman and told her he’d forgotten his recorder. He returned, and she gave it to him. Yes, Mong said, the recorder was left running. I asked him if it did, in fact, catch a conversation of a privileged sort between an attorney and a client. “I don’t want to get into that,” Mong said. “I understand some people have listened to it, but I have not.”

So the only strange “purported” is the first one.