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Marion Co. prosecutor drops investigation of Thomas

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Marion County prosecutor has cleared the state's inspector general of an allegation that he had tried to dissuade a Democrat from running for Clay County sheriff with the promise of a state appointment.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi issued a report Tuesday saying that the Democrat, Steve Bell, had told investigators that Inspector General David Thomas had never offered him a job on the Indiana Parole Board.

Bell, a former Clay County probation officer, had accused Thomas, a Republican, of attempting to get him out of the sheriff's race by promising him an appointment to the parole board. That led Brizzi to announce last week he was conducting a preliminary review of the case for possible crimes including violations of bribery or official misconduct laws.

Bell, however, retracted his original claim within days, leading to Brizzi's report Tuesday.

Thomas denied any impropriety from the outset, saying he did not offer a job nor connect the possible job in any way with Bell's campaign for sheriff. Instead, he said he merely told Bell to contact the governor's office if he was interested in a possible parole board appointment.

Gov. Mitch Daniels called Brizzi's report "the only possible conclusion. Let's assume Mr. Bell made an innocent mistake and let the matter drop."

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com



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