Brannon, Moliterno decline to be deposed May 31, 2012 10:31 PM TOM McLAUGHLIN / Daily News DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Walton County Commissioner Scott Brannon and Tourist Development Council Director Dawn Moliterno declined to participate in court-ordered depositions Wednesday. The depositions, ordered by County Judge David Green, were scheduled in the lawsuit Suzanne Harris has filed against Walton County. Harris alleges that Brannon violated a 2009 court order restricting him to using only county computers to conduct public business. She wants him held in contempt of court. Read the motion to prohibit the cross-examination of Harris Most of the evidence against Brannon involves email correspondence between him and Moliterno. County spokesman Louis Svehla said Brannon and Moliterno were present for the depositions, but declined on the advice of counsel. “This stems from an allegation that a federal investigation may be ongoing,” Svehla said. Svehla said several attorneys representing Brannon and Moliterno had heard of a possible federal probe through “a recent filing by the (Matt) Gaetz law firm.” That motion seeks to prohibit cross-examination of Harris “into her role as a source in a federal criminal investigation.” “Harris has been and is involved as a source in a federal criminal investigation here in Walton County,” the motion states. Speaking for Brannon’s and Moliterno’s legal team, Svehla said, “It is not known whether there is or is not currently an ongoing federal investigation.” He said Brannon and Moliterno will seek a protective order. “This stems from the allegation a federal investigation may be ongoing,” he said. “It is the belief of counsel that it is not appropriate at this time to give depositions.” Gaetz, Harris’ attorney, said Thursday he would file a motion for sanctions against Brannon and Moliterno. He said he also planned to file a motion “to order depositions to occur at the Walton County Courthouse at a time certain.” Gaetz said any question of whether Brannon and Moliterno would agree to have depositions taken was definitively answered when Green signed an order compelling their testimony. “This is a court-ordered deposition that now two government officials are refusing to sit for,” Gaetz said. “This is how guilty people behave.” Gaetz said he doesn’t understand the legal rationale behind shielding Brannon and Moliterno from testifying. “If they’ve done nothing wrong, they’ve got nothing to fear. If they’ve committed crimes they’re entitled to plead the Fifth (Amendment to the Constitution),” he said. “If Commissioner Brannon would like to plead the Fifth in order to avoid self incrimination, it is his right to do so on the record.” Moliterno declined comment. County Attorney Toni Craig did not return a phone call seeking comment. Efforts to reach Brannon through Svehla were unsuccessful.