For the seemingly dozenth time in the last few months, yet another move toward secrecy by embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is making headlines.
First it was the secret $8.4 million settlement with two former Detroit police officers who claimed they had information about Kilpatrick’s alleged secret affair with former chief of staff Christine Beatty. Then it was the 14,000-some secret text messages exchanged between Kilpatrick and Beatty on government-owned equipment that reportedly showed that he lied in court about an affair between the two of them. Next came last month’s new policy that conveniently exempts all text messages sent on government devices from public access under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
And now, Kilpatrick asked for — and won — a secret court hearing to ask the judge to keep those 14,000 text messages from public view. (The messages are now presumably public court records as a part of Kilpatrick’s criminal perjury trial.) On top of that, Judge Ronald Giles sealed the transcripts from the hearing.
Kilpatrick is really pulling out all the stops to keep activities that appear to have been conducted on public time, involving public resources and especially involving public dollars — $8.4 million of them — secret from the public. The Detroit Free-Press has been dogged in its pursuit to uncover this information between its persistent FOIA requests and general tenacity in seeking information on the investigations. It sounds like it may fall to the paper, yet again, to challenge the secrecy in court.
Wonder if that "enough with the secrecy already" argument will work on the judge. . . .