ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP)—War of words. Attorney General Doug Gansler speaks out for the first time about allegations he misused his police protection detail. And his harsh words have state police firing back.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the controversy.
State Police accuse the attorney general of forcing his security officers to run red lights, drive on the shoulder -- even making them get in the passenger seat and letting him drive.
Gansler says those accusations aren't true.
Pushing past reporters, Gansler jumped into his state-owned SUV, the same car state police claim he abused.
"That story is 100 percent completely false," said Gansler, appearing on NewsChannel 8.
But according to memos obtained by WJZ, Gansler's security team says he forced them to drive as fast as possible -- using lights and sirens illegally -- even turning them on himself.
Tuesday, the attorney general broke his silence.
"Nobody really believes I ordered some troopers to do these kinds of things because it's silly," he said,
But the memo from 2011 claims Gansler told troopers:
"He is the AG and can do whatever he wants."
"We don't have to wait at red lights."
And "I don't care what your commander says, I am ordering you."
Gansler accuses the commander of the executive protection section of playing politics.
"They're running a campaign about dirty politics, dirty tricks, pulling out some memo that some henchmen wrote two or three years ago," Gansler said.
Now, Maryland State Police are firing back at the attorney general.
The state police say the reference to Lt. Charles Ardolini "is unseemly and unacceptable." They say Ardolini's memorandum about Gansler was the result of ongoing safety concerns expressed to him by troopers that culminated with actions witnessed by Ardolini himself.
"This is all about safety for the state police. It has nothing to do with politics," Lt. Col. William Pallozzi, Ardolini's supervisor, told WJZ.
He says Gansler's comments are totally inappropriate. He says Gansler's use of emergency equipment was an ongoing problem that troopers had to report.
"There are legitimate reasons for it. Just to get around traffic is not a legitimate reason," Pallozzi said.
Seven state troopers filed reports claiming Gansler's actions were a risk to public safety.
Officials say the state police superintendent met with the attorney general in December 2011 to discuss his behavior.
Gansler did release a statement Tuesday night, saying he strongly stands behind the Maryland State Police and members of the executive protection service. But says he never issued any order to any member of the state police.
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