You are hereTalking Points Memo: Judge Shuts Down Washington Post Request For Loughner Documents

Talking Points Memo: Judge Shuts Down Washington Post Request For Loughner Documents

March 18, 2011- A federal judge this week stepped in to prevent the Pima County Sheriff's Office from disclosing a boatload of investigative documents in the Jared Loughner case to the Pulizer Prize winning Washington Post reporter who had been suspended by the newspaper after admitting to plagiarizing several graphs of an Arizona Republic story.

The judge issued an order prohibiting the Pima County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) "from releasing its investigative files concerning defendant Loughner to The Washington Post or any other media or private requestor until the trial in this matter is complete." The judge's decision was unrelated to the suspension of Sari Horwitz, who requested the records on Jan. 25, according to a March 4 follow up letter from a lawyer working for the Post to a Pima County Sheriff public information officer.

Because the investigation into Loughner is a joint operation between the feds and the sheriff's office, many of the documents were subject to both federal and state open government laws. The PCSO was planning to released the documents they generated during the course of their own investigation until the judge issued the order.

Federal prosecutors argued that the newspaper's request to PCSO was "seemingly-limitless" and asked for a protective order because "disclosure of the PCSO's investigative file would create a 'substantial likelihood' of 'material prejudice' to this proceeding and trial rights of the parties; would undermine the privacy interests of witnesses and victims; and would contravene the Court's affirmative duty to avoid prejudicial or inflammatory publicity."



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