'Balloon Boy' Sheriff Denies Violating Privacy Laws

The sheriff in the runaway balloon case doesn't believe he broke the law when he disclosed that child welfare workers were involved in the inquiry, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A special prosecutor is looking into allegations that the revelation by Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden violated privacy laws. "The sheriff stated that he does not believe he violated any laws," Alderden's spokeswoman, Eloise Campanella, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Alderden has accused Richard and Mayumi Heene of lying to authorities for saying their 6-year-old son, Falcon, was on the runaway balloon when it was launched from their backyard. Falcon turned up safe at the family's home.

Prosecutors are weighing whether to file criminal charges against the Heenes. Larimer County district attorney's spokeswoman Linda Jensen said Wednesday no decision had been reached.

The Larimer DA's office confirmed Wednesday that Boulder County DA Stan Garnett's office will look into claims from Richard Heene's lawyer that Alderden broke privacy laws.

Garnett said he expects the investigation to take about two weeks. He said he's not worried that his staff will be influenced by Alderden's 2007 description of the city of Boulder as an "imbecilic borough." Alderden believed the left-leaning home of the University of Colorado was too secular.

"I've lived in Boulder since 1968," Garnett said. "I get used to people teasing us occasionally."

Campanella said Alderden expressed faith in the Boulder County District attorney's office. She said the sheriff had no further comment.