Former Blunt aide gets $500,000 in settlement

JEFFERSON CITY | An attorney says a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit accusing former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt of wrongful termination and defamation in the firing of a staff attorney who questioned the office's e-mail deletion practices.

An attorney for Blunt's former chief of staff, Ed Martin, said the settlement would be announced Friday by the attorney general's office.

Former governor's office lawyer Scott Eckersley sued Blunt, Martin and other administration officials in January 2008, alleging they retaliated against him after he raised concerns that the office may have violated public records laws in its handling of e-mails.

Attorney Frank Neuner Jr., who represents Martin, says the settlement calls for Eckersley to be paid from the state's legal expense fund in exchange for dropping his lawsuit.