LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel called the woman with whom he has admitted an extramarital relationship twice from his office, but never communicated with her using his state-issued cellphone, records released by his office Friday show.
The woman also once told another lawyer in McDaniel's office that the attorney general had "precedential familiarity with my moral fiber," the records showed.
McDaniel's office detailed communications between the attorney general and Hot Springs attorney Andrea L. Davis a day after denying requests by The Associated Press and other media organizations for documents under the state's Freedom of Information Act. A spokesman said Friday that McDaniel still believes the records are exempt under a part of the law that allows him to withhold "working papers."
McDaniel, a Democrat, is the only announced candidate for the 2014 governor's race. He has been married since 2009. He said he met Davis during his 2010 re-election bid.
"At no time should our responses to Freedom of Information Act requests be seen as any attempt to conceal information about Attorney General McDaniel's interaction with Ms. Davis. ... That being said, in this specific instance, the AG thinks it is important to disclose communications involving himself and Ms. Davis related to the office, even though they are not subject to release," spokesman Aaron Sadler said.
McDaniel called Davis on Feb. 22, 2011, and spoke with her for about eight minutes. Sadler said the attorney general did not remember that call. The two also spoke for about 20 minutes on Aug. 17 about an order by Garland County Circuit Court to McDaniel's office and other law enforcement agencies to assist in the return of Davis' children from New Jersey. The call included McDaniel and the head of his special investigations division.
Jason French, the head of the division, later made two calls to New Jersey law enforcement and told Davis there was nothing the AG's office could do to assist her.
The custody dispute between Davis and her ex-husband was what ultimately prompted McDaniel to acknowledge the relationship. Davis' ex-husband in October alleged a sexual affair between Davis and McDaniel in an October court filing.
Sadler did not provide copies of McDaniel's daily schedule from the past two years, which had been requested by the AP, but said that they did not include any references to Davis. McDaniel's office also released travel records, which it said didn't include any references to Davis.
Sadler said there weren't any records of calls or texts exchanged between McDaniel and Davis on his state-issued cellphone.
Davis, who has not returned repeated calls for comment, was the opposing counsel in five cases handled by McDaniel's office, including a school choice lawsuit the state lost. Sadler has said McDaniel did not have direct involvement in those cases.
The records released Friday also included a letter and an email Davis sent to McDaniel's office where he was copied in as a recipient. Davis referenced the attorney general in a July 13, 2011, letter faxed to Senior Assistant Attorney General Warren Readnour, where she apologized for not being able to attend a hearing for a veterinarian she was representing in a case before a state board.
"I am cc'ing General McDaniel on this only because the General has precedential familiarity with my moral fiber, which I believe he has ascertained from instances I have spent in his vicinity during various public political functions," she wrote.
She also referred to McDaniel in another email to Readnour about the same case on March 7, asking for a continuance. McDaniel was listed as a recipient of the email, but Sadler said he did not reply or discuss it with Readnour.
"This is a very bad day for me and I am asking for some humanity and understanding even though I am not going to judge you or be upset with your office, much less General McDaniel, should you say no," she wrote.
Sadler said McDaniel never received the July letter and did not respond.
McDaniel's campaign has refused to offer details on the nature or extent of his relationship with Davis, and he's repeatedly denied interview requests. He has said he has no plans to drop his bid for governor.
The records also included an Aug. 12 email sent to the AG office's public email address asking for help in the investigation into the death of Maxwell Anderson. Anderson was found shot dead outside Davis' home in February.
An initial report by the Garland County Sheriff's Office lists Davis' brother, Matthew Davis, as a "suspect" who was present at the scene. State police, who have taken over the investigation, wouldn't discuss whether they have any suspects.
Sadler said an official with the AG's office sent a standard response that said it doesn't handle local criminal investigations. Sadler has said McDaniel has not talked with Davis about the death investigation.
"No follow-up communications or inquires have been made to the AG's office related to this case," Sadler said Friday. "In addition, no official requests for assistance have been made by any law enforcement agency to the AG's office with regard to the Maxwell Anderson case."
Andrew DeMillo can be reached at www.twitter.com/ademillo