Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is asking for a restraining order against the city of Sacramento in an attempt to stop the release of emails regarding legal issues with the National Conference of Black Mayors.
Last month, the Sacramento News and Review, as well as other media agencies, filed a public records request to get the emails sent by Johnson that involve the NCBM.
Johnson was the president of the NCBM May 30, 2013, through May 8, 2014.
The city of Sacramento’s attorney found that the emails were public record and is planning to release the emails on July 6.
Johnson claims that the emails are protected by attorney-client and work product privileges, and should therefore not be released to the Sacramento News and Review or any other media agency.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Ben Sosenko, said the emails in question contain information pertaining to ongoing litigation. Sosenko said he thinks a judge will agree that Johnson is entitled to attorney-client privilege, just like any other citizen.
Johnson’s attorney Peter Haviland issued the following statement:
“No responsible journalist nor attorney disputes that the attorney-client privilege is a bedrock of America’s civil society. Public records requests are not intended to violate that privilege and the law does not allow disclosure of attorney-client privileged materials pursuant to public records requests. The Sacramento Bee, who is a participant in the records request, agrees.
The writ petition filed today by the National Conference of Black Mayors, the Chapter 7 Trustee for the Estate of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and Mayor Kevin Johnson in his capacity as former President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, is not a lawsuit against anyone for damages nor is it an action to prevent the release of public records. It is only a “writ”—a common and simple procedure designed to protect attorney-client privileged documents.
All of the parties who filed this writ, including Mayor Kevin Johnson, are committed to transparency and disclosure of all appropriate public records. They are equally committed to the bedrock principle of attorney-client privilege, which is recognized in the public records request statute.”
The Sacramento News and Review alleges that Johnson used city staff for NCBM matters and used private Gmail accounts for city business.
You can read the legal documents provided to FOX40 below.
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