Those keeping track of the mounting corruption investigations have noted a fondness for the so-called “Blackberry defense.” The target claims that he was unaware of things said or done in a meeting or event he attended because he was preoccupied with his Blackberry – reading and answering e-mails. The latest “Blackberry defendant” is Lurita Doan, the embattled General Services Administrator accused of multiple Hatch Act violations as she mobilized her agency to support the Republican Party in the 2006 election campaign. Unfortunately for Doan, the Office of Special Counsel took a close look at her claim and found it was bogus:
The special counsel sought to corroborate the BlackBerry distractions, yet when investigators reviewed Doan’s personal and government e-mail messages during the post-lunch meeting, there was no evidence that Doan would have been particularly distracted.
“The documentation establishes that Ms. Doan received nine e-mail messages to her private e-mail account on Jan. 26, 2007, with the latest one received at 1:08 p.m.,” the report states. The meeting took place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. “The documentation Ms. Doan provided concerning her private e-mail account did not establish that she sent, read, composed, deleted or moved any messages during the January meeting.”