Stenehjem’s emails might be recoverable after all

Late Attorney General Wayne Stenehjam
Late Attorney General Wayne Stenehjam(KFYR)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -It’s possible late Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s emails aren’t gone for good.

The state Information Technology Department (NDIT) plans to hire Planet Technologies - a tech company based in Maryland - to begin efforts to recover more than 20 years of emails. Stenehjem’s emails were deleted days after he died suddenly in January. NDIT told the state auditor’s office in August they had exhausted all efforts of the emails from Microsoft, but communication between NDIT and Microsoft shows otherwise.

“NDIT asked for Microsoft to write a formal letter saying that Wayne Stenehjem’s account was no longer available. A security and compliance representative for Microsoft responded back to NDIT saying, ‘Just because an account is deleted does not mean the data is gone,’” said state auditor Joshua Gallion.

The findings about the emails were part of a larger investigation by the auditor’s office into the $1.7 million overrun by the Attorney General’s office for a new building. The findings were turned over to the Attorney General’s office, who will ask an outside agency to conduct a separate investigation.