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Subpoenas seek documents related to Gov. Deal investigation

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (WAGA file photo) Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (WAGA file photo)
ATLANTA -

A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas to five current or past ethics commission staffers. The subpoenas are seeking documents relating to an earlier investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal.

Last July, Deal's attorney said the governor was glad to have ethics complaints behind him.

The complaints involved airplane rentals and legal fees spent during his campaign for Governor were dismissed by the State Ethics commission.

The Governor admitted he made 53 "technical defects" or minor violations on his campaign disclosures and agreed to pay a $3,350 fine. Case closed.

But now, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from five of the key state employees who worked on the Governor Deal investigation.

Sources familiar with the case say the grand jury has issued subpoenas to the current executive director, Holly LeBerge, and staff secretary Elisabeth Murray-Obertein, along with former staffer John Hair and former executive director Stacey Kalberman and her top assistant Sheri Streicker.

Kalberman and Streicker are suing the state claiming they were fired because of their investigation of Governor Deal

The subpoenas ask for all "notes, correspondence, letters, electronic mail, memorandums, deposition, transcripts, recorded statements, court filings, draft documents"

The ethics commission has been embroiled in controversy since the former executive director and her top assistant filed suit against the state.  Sworn statements in those lawsuits by Murray-Obertein and Hair have raised questions of political interference from the Governor's office during the investigation.

Deal has denied the accusations.

William Perry, the director of government watchdog group Common Cause, says he hopes the subpoenas are a sign that an independent agency will conduct a thorough investigation.

"It's good news for people of Georgia, who need to believe in this process and I think it's good news for the Governor, who is saying that he's innocent and can be proven within a federal court," said Perry.

The subpoenas don't spell out who or what is being investigated, sources said.

Deal told FOX 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis that he hasn't heard from the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office and believes that the FBI must be investigating current or former ethics staffers. He said he would be glad to provide any documents that the grand jury needs.

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