Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is suing a reporter at the Advocate over a Public Records Request.
The request was over sexual harassment complaints against Pat Magee, the head of the office's criminal division, and comes days after the paper warned Landry that it planned to sue him if he didn't turn over the requested records.
Landry is asking a judge to deny the Public Records Request and seal the proceedings, citing privacy concerns, The Advocate reports.
Reporter Andrea Gallo filed a public records request in December 2020 over the sexual harassment complaints, but Landry's office responded that the only complaints against Magee were part of the ongoing investigation. They reiterated that message at the beginning of January. Magee returned to work on January 19.
Read more on the investigation here
Landry's office said on January 22 that the Advocate would receive their requested reports within the next week. Soon after the attorney general's lawyers said they had located the complaint filed against Magee, but would not release it publicly, citing policies within the AG's office and state Civil Service that call for confidentiality in such investigations.
The Advocate offered to make concessions for privacy to protect the identity of the victim. Scott Sternberg, who represents The Advocate, also said the Civil Service guidance isn't an exception to public records law.
The attorney general's office didn't respond until Friday, writing in a letter to Gallo, "You have demanded information which will compromise the rights of our employees and could lead to litigation over the violation of those rights."
Peter Kovacs, The Advocate's editor, says the lawsuit is a first in his 40-year career, adding the paper is not intimidated, but instead more determined.
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