- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) A federal grand jury questioned a state Republican official and a former party staffer on Tuesday as part of an investigation into eavesdropping by Republicans on Democratic conference calls.
Christina Brooks, finance director of the Republican Party of Virginia, and Hillary Reston, a former staff assistant, spent nearly three hours in the grand jury room in the Richmond federal courthouse, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Neither woman commented after their appearance before the panel.
The grand jury was scheduled to meet again yesterday to question another Republican staff member.
The grand jury previously questioned Jessica Johnson, a finance assistant for the party, and Jeff Ryer, a former spokesman for state House Majority Leader Delegate H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican.
Former Republican Party Executive Director Edmund A. Matricardi III has acknowledged listening in on two Democratic conference calls in March that were focused on strategy in a legislative-redistricting case.
A cell-phone number belonging to Claudia D. Tucker, chief of staff for former Republican House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr., also was found to have logged in to one of the calls.
Mr. Matricardi was indicted in April on four state felony counts related to the eavesdropping. The indictments were dropped when state and local authorities asked federal investigators to probe the case.
Mr. Matricardi resigned his job with the Virginia Republicans, but was hired subsequently as political director of the South Carolina Republican Party.
Miss Tucker has not been charged and, according to the Times-Dispatch, has not been subpoenaed.


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