Two local newspapers that have been covering the ongoing saga of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his alleged relationship with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, may request hard-copies of email, text messages and other electronic communications between the two going back to last August, a Wayne County Circuit judge ruled Friday.
Judge Robert Columbo Jr. ruled months ago that the state Freedom of Information Act mandates the release of such communications by city officials upon request when the communications are expressed on city-rented or -owned machines. That decision was ultimately affirmed by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Judge Columbo’s most recent ruling comes after a federal district court judge presiding over Kilpatrick and Beatty’s criminal trials held a closed session to review the email and text messages. Lawyers for Kilpatrick and Beatty had argued that releasing the messages produced beginning last August — which was right around the time the police whistle-blower trial that involved Kilpatrick began — would violate their clients’ Fifth Amendment rights and federal communications regulations.