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A top aide to Mayor Thomas Menino deleted some e-mails "inappropriately and without permission," Secretary of State William Galvin said Thursday.
Galvin has finished his review of the deleted Boston City Hall e-mails and is forwarding his findings to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for a possible criminal investigation.
"They should not have been deleted," Galvin told WBUR. "Now, whether it was an accidental deletion or a deliberate deletion, that will be up to the attorney general to determine."
State law requires municipal employees to save e-mails for two years.
Galvin said his office recovered all the deleted e-mails that could be retrieved using reasonable means from two hard drives used by the aide, Michael Kineavy. His review, conducted with third-party computer forensic specialists, recovered 48,000 items, including contacts and calendar items.
"It was important to do because it was a matter of public confidence here," Galvin said. "We hope these materials will be released as quickly as possible so that anyone who's interested in them can review them."
Coakley said her office began assisting Galvin two weeks ago to help preserve the e-mails. "Our job now is to find out whether they were deleted unlawfully or not," she told WBUR.
Menino's office said the city has taken steps to prevent future data loss and is drafting a comprehensive, long-term e-mail retention policy. His office said the city is cooperating fully with the attorney general's office in an effort to quickly reach a final resolution.
Coakley said it's "unlikely, frankly" that there will be a finding before the Nov. 3 mayoral election.
"It is a short timeline," she said. "It's hard to know how long it would take, given the number of e-mails involved and the amount of our review."
This program aired on October 22, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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