Sunday, January 29, 2017

NJ court rules on open records case tied to Bridgegate


Matt Arco reports today 
for NJ.com:

It turns out requests for public records are themselves public records.
A New Jersey appeals court ruled Friday citizens can seek and obtain public records requests that were filed by other people. The legal battle over the case has ties to the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.
The plaintiffs had sought public records requests filed to numerous state agencies.
Christie's office and numerous state agencies had sought to reverse a judge's ruling granting the requests. They argued New Jersey's Open Public Records Act doesn't require them to give the plaintiffs access to third-party OPRA requests. They cited a previous appeals court ruling in a case involving federal subpoenas in Middlesex County that they said buttressed their argument.
On Friday, the appeals court wrote the earlier ruling wasn't relevant and that the public records act doesn't exempt third-party requests.
In November, a jury found Christie's former aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, and his Port Authority appointee, Bill Baroni, guilty on all counts.
In a seven-week trial that saw their own words used against them, Baroni and Kelly were convicted of helping orchestrate massive traffic tie-ups at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. The plot was hatched to send a pointed message to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, after he stepped back from his earlier public support of Christie.
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