Florida law enforcement officials investigating former Republican Rep. Mark Foley, whose e-mails and instant messages to teenage former congressional pages shocked the country, are hoping Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will grant them access to Foley's House computers.
"We are respectfully requesting access to any and all computer equipment that the U.S. Government possesses that former Representative Foley utilized during his time in office," Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey wrote to the speaker last month.
A spokesman for Pelosi told ABC News her office "is in the process of preparing a response to Commissioner Bailey's request," after receiving the letter only last week due to security precautions taken with her mail.
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Spokesman Brendan Daly also said the office wants to cooperate with Florida investigators and will consult with House lawyers.
But back in August, lawyers for the U.S. House of Representatives, citing constitutional exemptions, denied Florida law enforcement officials access to the former congressman's computers. Investigators believe Foley may have used the machines to send illegal sexually explicit messages to former congressional pages.
"Access to these computers is critical to the Department's ability to move this case forward," Bailey said this week.
Federal officials turned the case over to Florida after concluding that Foley did not engage in any actual sexual contact until the former pages had turned 18, and had therefore not violated federal law. Washington, D.C. law defines the age of consent as 16.
Under Florida law, it is a third-degree felony both to use the Internet "to seduce, solicit, lure or entice" a minor "to commit any illegal act...relating to lewdness and indecent exposure" and to transmit any "information or data that is harmful to minors...via electronic mail," which includes instant messages.
Foley resigned Sept. 29, 2006, hours after ABC News questioned him about sexually explicit messages with former congressional pages, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of the exchanges.
Calls to Foley's attorney were not immediately returned.