DENVER
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Jim Alderden Investigation: DA Appoints Special Prosecutor To Investigate Whether Balloon Boy Sheriff Broke Law

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported Wednesday that the Larimer County District Attorney has appointed a special prosecutor from outside the district to investigate whether Sheriff Jim Alderden broke the law by telling the press that social services was investigating the Heene "Balloon Boy" family.

Alderden said the family orchestrated what he called a hoax in order to generate interest in a reality television deal. Alderden said the county's Child Protection Services team had been asked to investigate whether the family's environment was safe for the three Heene children.

On Monday, an attorney for father Richard Heene called for an investigation into Alderden's disclosure, citing a Colorado law that bars officials from discussing such information publicly. David Lane said Alderden disclosed the investigation in part to whip up a public frenzy against his client.

Abrahamson's office confirmed Tuesday that Boulder's 20th Judicial District had been appointed to handle the review.

David Lane, a lawyer representing Richard Heene, told Westword on Monday: "we're going to be sending out a letter today asking that somebody in the DA's office take a look at the sheriff for divulging information about a child-abuse investigation... That's a misdemeanor."

Lane expressed outrage at Alderden's tendency for sharing details with the press.

From Westword:

"All I can speak about is my situation, but I've been doing this for thirty years, and I've never seen an affidavit in support of a warrant released to the public before an arrest is made," Lane insists. "And I've never seen a sheriff release confidential information in violation of the law about an ongoing child-abuse investigation. That's certainly not going to help the DAs with their case."

Watch Alderden on the O'Reilly Factor Last Week: