OKLAHOMA CITY – Expletive and alcohol-filled Snapchats and internet searches for how law enforcement recovers cell phone data are some of the revelations laid out in an extensive police report looking into a former Gov. Fallin staffer being investigated for allegedly taking up skirt photos of a woman during a budget meeting earlier this year.
The 250 page criminal investigation report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is comprised of forensic analysis of electronic devices, room diagrams and photos, along with dozens of interviews and statements from state representatives, governor’s office and capitol staff, state troopers, lobbyists, press and the public.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol – which has jurisdiction over the state capitol – started investigating Travis Brauer, 29, after a late-night budget meeting at the capitol on May 23.
News 4 requested the report after the allegations against Brauer came out in early August. Brauer resigned from his position on July 11.
The House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget (JCAB) convened at about 9:30 p.m. on May 23 and passed two multi-billion dollar appropriation bills shortly before a midnight deadline.
A woman present and standing during the meeting told state troopers during a recess that others believed a man – later identified as Brauer – was allegedly seen placing a smartphone next to her heel, with the camera facing up.
Brauer can be seen in News 4 video from that night sitting on the floor to the right of the woman, who News 4 is not identifying.
Some of those interviewed said they noticed the phone on the ground – others did not.
According to a forensic analysis of Brauer’s computer hard drive, Brauer and fellow governor’s office staffer Jana Miller, took a photo in front of the House Chambers on May 23 at 7:04 p.m., captioned “F---- the house” as both looked at the camera, flipping it off. It was posted to Snapchat.
That same evening, at 9:53 p.m., a video recording of Brauer and a lobbyist, Oklahoma Municipal League Deputy Director of External Operations Government Affairs Missy Dean, was taken of the two drinking Coors Light with the hashtag “#Chug #Budget”. It also was posted to Snapchat.
People interviewed by the OHP said Dean and Brauer were seen talking throughout the meeting, taking selfies and Brauer was seen photographing others in attendance. At one point, the report says State Representatives Forrest Bennett and Matt Meredith confronted Brauer who “told them he was just taking selfies.”
At 11:08 p.m., Brauer took a Snapchat photo in the capitol rotunda wearing a 'happy birthday' sign around his neck, captioned “Channeling my inner Titus.”
Three people interviewed by the OHP who were aware of the allegations brought forward that evening, thought the allegations might be a setup as Brauer had applied for a White House staffer position, according to the report.
The report says the next day, aware of the investigation and less than three hours after Brauer was shown surveillance video from the committee room, a forensic review of Brauer’s computer showed he searched for the woman who made the report several times on Facebook.
The report says Brauer also searched the internet multiple times between May 24 and May 26, for ways to recover, delete and understand what law enforcement can recover from cell phones.
Such searches included: “what do officers use to download contents on phones,” “how to recover deleted pictures on iphone,” “how to recover deleted pictures on android,” “how to completely wipe a phone,” “How to completely wipe a phone before police,” “what do police officers do to extract pictures off phones” and “what information will be pulled from phone when law enforcement scnas (sic) it.”
The report says an OHP Captain contacted Brauer by phone on May 26 to ask if he would submit his phone for analysis, to which Brauer said he would. But he was heading to a lake and couldn’t submit it until Tuesday, May 30.
On May 30, after getting Brauer’s voicemail the captain sent a text. More than three hours later Brauer called the OHP captain back and told him he was on his way with his phone.
When Brauer arrived, he said he moved his contact information from one phone to another before he left for the lake trip “to not take a chance on losing or damaging the phone he had at the meeting,” according to the report.
Brauer then told the troopers he had put the phone in his bag and left for the lake, “but now he could not find the phone.”
In an interview with the OHP, Brauer said he was “probably intoxicated” during the May 23 JCAB meeting and that he “had a couple whiskeys” as well as beers.
When asked about photographing the woman who made the report, Brauer stated, “I don’t believe so” and “I don’t think I took a picture of her.” He also told investigators “if he were to do something like that, it would have been to make fun of (her) like he did the protesters the night before.”
When Brauer was asked about the internet searches, he said he had several phones he needed to get rid of and the law enforcement search was because “he was curious.”
A forensic search of Brauer’s computer showed his phone had a one hour gap of no activity, with pictures taken before and after the May 23 JCAB meeting. The report doesn’t indicate any up skirt photos were recovered.
Brauer submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Fallin on July 11.
“After months of thought and consideration, I have decided that it is time for me to actively pursue other opportunities,” Brauer wrote. “I feel it is unfair to you and the people of Oklahoma, for my primary focus and energy to be on these endeavors.”