Complaint submitted against Missouri AG candidate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A longtime nemesis of Missouri attorney general candidate Ed Martin lodged a complaint a week before the election that asks for Martin to be disciplined and accuses him of defamation and ignoring state records laws while serving as former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt's chief of staff.

Scott Eckersley, who was an attorney in Blunt's office until Martin fired him in September 2007, said he mailed his complaint Monday to the state Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in which he asks that Martin be sanctioned or disbarred.

Martin's campaign said Tuesday that politics are at play, and campaign spokesman Gabe Jones said the Missouri Supreme Court "would not even confirm that such a document even exists." Martin, a Republican, is seeking to unseat Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster in next Tuesday's election.

Eckersley told The Associated Press he previously vowed to file the complaint and had wanted to complete it sooner.

"It has everything to do with a man who I don't believe is worthy to wear the title lawyer, to trade on that name, to be running for the top legal job in the state," he said. "It offends me."

Eckersley has said he wrongly was fired after raising concerns about deleted emails in the governor's office. The governor's administration later released an unsolicited packet to reporters accusing Eckersley of doing private work on state computers, enrolling in a "group sex Internet site," and raising questions about whether he used drugs.

Eckersley denied the allegations and sued in 2008 for defamation and wrongful termination. The case was settled, and the state paid Eckersley and his lawyers $500,000, with no party acknowledging any wrongdoing. The legal settlement was approved in 2009 after Koster had taken office as attorney general. Eckersley ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010 as a Democrat.

During this year's attorney general campaign, Koster's campaign has run a TV ad that criticizes Martin over the issue with deleted email.

Blunt's administration in 2007 filed a similar complaint against Eckersley accusing him of professional misconduct, including violating confidentiality requirements when he told news outlets he was fired for voicing his legal opinions. The state Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel said in 2009 that it found no grounds to take action and dismissed the complaint.

Eckersley's complaint against Martin includes a reference to findings from Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel clearing Eckersley and statements from 2009 by Koster and then-Office of Administration Commissioner Kelvin Simmons.

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