Deputy prosecutor's relationship with convict sparks investigation

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane County deputy prosecutor is on paid administrative leave while investigators determine if she had an inappropriate relationship with a convicted felon.

Police have used a warrant to search the jail cell of 31-year-old Matthew Baumrucker to look for evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. Allegations are that the deputy prosecutor was visiting the inmate in jail and they were not likely legal visits because a prosecutor could not walk inside the jail and talk to a defendant outside the presence of their defense attorney.

These appear to be social visits that were carried out in an attorney's booth where lawyers and their clients have contact with each other so things like paperwork can be signed.

It's not known how this investigation got it's start because the warrants used to search the inmate's cell and the deputy prosecutor's computer were sealed.

Baumrucker was last arrested in March for being a felon in possession of a firearm and a subpoena shows since that time, a history of the people visiting Baumrucker here inside the jail include the deputy prosecutor.

However that type of relationship between a prosecutor and a convicted felon is so unusual Baumrucker's current criminal case has been handed off to Whitman County to avoid a conflict of interest.

Spokane County commissioners had no idea the deputy prosecutor had been placed on paid administrative leave and there is no record of this case in the deputy prosecutor's file.

Spokane Police will not say what crime they are investigating but there is a concern that the deputy prosecutor and the information she has about on going criminal cases may have been compromised.

Late Tuesday afternoon Spokane County confirmed the deputy prosecutor was placed on paid administrative leave on April 21 and will remain on leave pending completion of a criminal investigation by the FBI.

The county is required by a collective bargaining agreement to pay the deputy prosecutor while on leave pending the outcome, as required by law.

The prosecutor's office will not comment until the results of the investigation have been completed and turned over for review of this matter.