Setting the Records Straight on 38 Studios and Transparency - News from The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, ACLU of Rhode Island News, RIACLU News

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Setting the Records Straight on 38 Studios and Transparency

Posted: September 29, 2017|Category: Open Government

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Yesterday, Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law a bill providing for the release of various state records from the investigation of the 38 Studios scandal. She criticized Attorney General Peter Kilmartin for standing in the way of getting the records released, stating: “It's time for Attorney General Kilmartin to stop opposing the will of the people, and to disclose all 38 Studios investigation records that his office has done everything to block from public view."

The AG took offense at these comments and his office responded by issuing a statement that said: “From the outset, the Attorney General has not been opposed to the release of documents. He has only sought clarification from the Court as to what can be released in accordance with the statute and to ensure release of documents does not violate privilege, Court rules, or the recent decision [regarding access to grand jury materials] by the Presiding Justice.” (emphasis added)

This is a remarkable statement because, not once, but twice the Attorney General has actively sought to prevent disclosure of records related to the 38 Studios investigation. You don’t need to take our word for it, though. Instead, we have pasted below quotes taken directly from the Attorney General’s court filings in the two cases on the subject. Decide for yourself who is telling the truth.

In the first case, the Governor filed a petition with the Superior Court asking it to allow the grand jury records from the investigation to be released. This is the concluding statement from the Attorney General’s brief, which doesn’t sound like much of a request for clarification to us:

“The Attorney General objects to the release of the grand jury materials and records requested, and asks this Honorable Court to maintain the sanctity of the grand jury process.”

As for the second case, it was filed by the Attorney General himself against the Governor, specifically seeking to prevent the bill she just signed from taking effect. Did he file this suit in order to seek “clarification”? Judge for yourself based on these representative quotes (there are more like them) from his brief in that case:

* “The Correspondence are privileged materials and the Attorney General, as the holder of the privileges, asserts them here to bar disclosure.”

* “The precedent set by disclosure in this instance and its inevitable attendant publicity would cast an irreparable pall on every subsequent law enforcement investigation.”

* “The Correspondence contain the mental impressions and strategies of an attorney, and thus are opinion work product. As such, the Correspondence are squarely barred from disclosure. “

* “Disclosure here portends actual and tangible harm to the Attorney General as the chief prosecutor and the State of Rhode Island.”

If this is what the Attorney General argues when he is not opposed to the release of documents, we hate to think what he would have said if he did oppose their release!

No one should be fooled by the Attorney General’s attempt to rewrite what isn’t even history yet.

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