A settlement has been reached in the dispute between the governor’s office and three media outlets requesting e-mails from the governor, but that resolves only part of the legal action filed against Governor Blunt.
In the end, it seemed right to end the dispute says John Holstein, the lawyer for Governor Blunt.
"I think that people just want to move on and get passed this," Holstein told reporters after a hearing in the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City.
The Associated Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star filed a lawsuit against the governor’s office, requesting e-mails from members of the staff between August 17th and October 31st of last year. The Office of Administration says three copies of the e-mails exist on sets of 61 CDs. A set will be turned over to the Cole County Circuit Court. A special master judge will decide disputes over whether certain e-mails become public or not.
Does the settlement have an impact on the overall case against the governor’s office?
"Well, any settlement has an impact," according to Joe Maxwell, a special assistant attorney general assigned to the case.
Maxwell says the settlement removes the interveners from the core challenge, which is whether the governor’s office violated both the state records retention law and the open records law.
"We still need to make a determination about whether or not the governor’s office had a retention policy and whether or not they were following it," Maxwell told reporters.
Governor Blunt’s legal team has challenged even the right of the special assistant attorneys general to bring suit against the governor. That question as well as the core issue in the case will be resolved later.