VICTORY! Court of Appeals Orders St. Louis Circuit Attorney to Produce Public Records

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Constitutional Structure, Government Transparency, Press Releases

After two years of litigating against St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on behalf of acclaimed journalist John Solomon, the Freedom Center notched an important victory for government transparency. Solomon had requested all records showing Gardner’s communications with a range of influential people, including George Soros and other prominent left-leaning donors, in the days before she filed criminal charges against former governor Eric Greitens. Gardner initially didn’t respond at all, then refused to produce any of the requested records. The Freedom Center sued on Solomon’s behalf and won a trial court judgment establishing that Gardner had purposefully violated the Sunshine Law; the judgment not only required her office to turn over the records, but also to pay Solomon a $5,000 civil penalty. The Circuit Attorney’s Office appealed, and last week the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court’s judgment.

The Circuit Attorney’s Office still has the option of asking the Missouri Supreme Court to review the case, but it is extremely unlikely that they will do so. We expect the case to be remanded to the trial court in three or four weeks, at which point the judge will likely order Gardner to produce the records to Solomon within about thirty days.