Blackmail e-mail messages sent to an aide to the Hawaiian governor may not be publicly released, a federal judge has ruled. Bob Awana, the former chief of staff to Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, has a right to privacy regarding e-mail messages blackmailing him for $35,000 over a romantic relationship, Judge Michael Seabright said. Seabright reasoned that as a crime victim, Awana should be treated with "fairness and respect to privacy."
The court order ruled against the Associated Press in its attempts to review those e-mail messages and determine whether government misconduct occurred on state-funded trips to the Philippines in 2005 and 2006 — where the alleged affairs are said to have occurred. The governor has denied those were official state trips. Awana resigned when the case came to light.