Florida Investigating Foley Over Computer Messages

Associated Press
Friday, November 17, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 16 -- State authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the sexually explicit computer messages that Mark Foley sent to male former pages when the Florida Republican was a congressman.

"It was a preliminary inquiry before, but we found the basis to open up a criminal investigation," Kristen Perezluha, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said Thursday. She would not elaborate.

The FBI is investigating whether Foley broke federal laws, and the House ethics committee is looking into whether senior GOP officials hid what they knew about the instant messages.

Foley resigned Sept. 29 after being confronted with the communications. His attorney, David Roth, has said Foley never had inappropriate sexual contact with minors. Roth declined to comment on the criminal investigation.

Florida law prohibits seducing or trying to seduce a minor. But authorities have said the term "seduce" is open to interpretation.

Foley has returned to Florida to attend his father's funeral, set for Saturday, after spending more than a month in an Arizona rehabilitation facility for alcoholism, Roth said. Edward Foley died Tuesday of cancer.

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