[UPDATED:] Did Dann tell Espy to back off while on the record during his questioning? (Yeah, he did.)
First, I'm glad that the Cleveland Plain Dealer has made the official transcripts of each of the interviews of the internal investigation. I'll have more on my review of them later, but here's something that stood out to me.
On April 30th (yeah two days ago), Dann asked to appear in front of Espy to revise one of his earlier answers. Recall that last week that Dann's office announced that the report would come out this week. This transcript may be the reason it didn't come out until today. Second, it means that Dann only had a week to review his prior testimony and revise it. But his revision was significant and couldn't have come at the last possible minute.
Now, before I read the transcript, I was under the impression that Dann had admitted that Utovich had stayed the night at the condo, that there were vague "multiple explanations" as to why, and that Espy didn't follow up because he didn't view it relevant. The following is the actual course of the questioning (pages 9-13):
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: Senator, the other issue is, in reviewing the transcript, I felt I didn't have a chance to complete an answer to one of your questions.
MR. ESPY: Okay.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: And that question is -- appears -- and I have a hard time following the numbering, but I believe it's on Page 70 -- transcript Page 70, at Line 20.
MR. ESPY: That's your answer, beginning 11 on Line 20?
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: Correct.
MR. ESPY: The question on Line 18 was: Do you recall her [Utovich] ever staying overnight at the apartment?ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: Right. And I said at the end that I didn't know, I was barely at the apartment, before you moved on to another question.
And although the transcript doesn't reflect it, I felt like I didn't get a chance to complete my answer at the time, and I wanted to complete the answer.
MR. ESPY: Go ahead.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: Although I was infrequently at the apartment, I was aware that she stayed overnight; however, I want to be clear that she did not stay overnight on September 10th, 2007.
MR. ESPY: You indicated that you were aware she did stay overnight?
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: Yes.
MR. ESPY: Do you know what was the occasion?
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: You know, I have knowledge that she stayed overnight. What I don't want to do is allow this serious investigation about allegations of sexual harassment to be transformed into something that is about rumor and innuendo. And so there are variety of reasons, but I -- I don't think it adds any value to your investigation to respond.
MR. ESPY: Okay. As I indicated before to you in the transcript, the scope of this investigation is fairly narrow. And we did look at violations of other policies in the offic that was adopted by -- in a manual in January of 2008. I also stated at that time that I am not the moral police in the office.
The question before about staying overnight was asked only in the context that one of the complainants indicated they saw her, early in the morning, come out of the apartment or going into the apartment. And that goes to the frequency when she was over at the apartment, not so much in terms of what was done.
And I'm not alluding to the fact that there was anything improper of her visit.
That's the context in which the question was being asked.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN: And I've exhaustively answered the question about what she was doing there early in the morning and late at night, so I think I'll stand with the answers I've already given.
MR. ESPY: Okay. Thank you.
Today, Dann admitted that his affair with Utovich may have lead to the culture in which Goose thought it was appropriate to solilcit sex from his female subordinates. Two days ago, he told the chief investigator, and his employee, not to go there. And he did so, on the record, while he was being questioned on this matter.
[UPDATE:] I was just listening to Dann's interview today with the Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial board. He was specifically asked why he never told Espy about his affair with Utovich. Dann claimed because Espy never asked. The board points out Dann was specifically asked about whether she every stayed the night, and Dann actually cites the transcript cited above. Dann says after admitting that Utovich had stayed the night there on at lease one occasion, Espy "asked another question" before Dann was able to admit to the affair. It's halfway through this portion of the interview. Simply amazing. Did he not know these transcripts were being released? So why didn't he admit in the second interview about the affair and refuse to answer Espy's question as to why Utovich would have stayed overnight, but admonished Espy instead? Hmmm.
And that is yet another reason why Dann should resign.