Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wants a Cole County judge to block a subpoena seeking documents on how much it would cost the state to defend an abortion proposal in court.

Bailey has said he would refuse to defend it in court due to his opposition to abortion, and that it would cost the state about $21 million to hire outside counsel.

The subpoena filed by attorneys for Republican operative Jamie Corley seeks documents on how Bailey came up with that figure, but he told Missourinet he’s not legally required to comply.

“They subpoenaed records related to preparation of a fiscal note in a lawsuit about a fiscal summary – they’re two completely different issues,” Bailey said. “The subpoena is nothing short of a fishing expedition.”

Corley is the sponsor of the proposed ballot measure that would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest. She is suing fellow Republicans – Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick – in part because Bailey’s cost estimate of $21 million was added to the ballot measure’s language by Ashcroft’s office. Bailey also suggested he’s not required to provide the documents because he was not named as a defendant.

“If they want any information related to the fiscal summary, certainly they’re entitled to that under the law because that’s what the lawsuit’s about,” he said. “But they’re not allowed to open the files and subpoena every document at the Attorney General’s Office unrelated to the suit at issue. It’s about confining discovery to the contours of the lawsuit.”

The final determination will be made by a judge at a later date.

The attorney general’s office oversees open records requests, though it is dealing with a backlog of requests.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.