Secrecy application in investigation of mayor must be revealed
UTAH–The state Supreme Court ruled in late September that an application for secrecy in the investigation into the solicitations of money by Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini is public and must be provided to The Salt Lake Tribune.
It also ordered the Salt Lake County District Court judge who in June had sealed the application to unseal his own order mandating the secrecy.
The high court also reversed the lower court’s decision that the newspaper did not have standing to challenge the secrecy order.
The high court ruled unanimously that the court must honor the Tribune’s request. Otherwise the public would never have any means of challenging the secrecy of matters before the court, it said.
District Attorney Neal Gunnarson filed an application for secrecy with the District Court while he was conducting an investigation of the mayor. Corradini had allegedly solicited $10,000 gifts from several of her friends, including appointees and individuals who conduct business with the city.
Gunnarson conducted a four-month investigation of the mayor under the state’s Investigative Subpoena Powers Act but concluded that he could not file charges under a vague city ethics statute and that the state ethics statute did not clearly cover city officials.
The subpoena powers law authorizes states attorneys to conduct criminal investigations using court-issued subpoenas.
When the Tribune sought the records in April, Gunnarson argued that even making the secrecy application public would damage the reputations of persons who had given money to the mayor. (Kearns-Tribune Corp. v. Wilkinson; Media Attorney: Sharon Sonnenreich, Salt Lake City)