Acting Atty. Gen. Peter Nickles

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In a recent hearing in the Pershing Park case, Judge Emmet Sullivan warned D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles that he “was playing games with the wrong judge.”

In a filing last week [PDF], plaintiffs lawyers suggest Nickles is not taking Sullivan’s threat seriously.  Lawyers in the Chang case assert that the crafty AG is still playing games with discovery.

Nickles and Co. had handed over 3,000 pages of material to plaintiffs. The only problem: these pages were overly redacted. In some cases, entire pages were blacked out. Nickles is required by law to justify each redaction. In this case, the marked-up pages came without explanation.

This is the third time Nickles has used this redaction tactic.

The plaintiffs lawyers write:

“This Court is all too familiar with the District’s discovery abuses in this case. One distressingly familiar contrivance used by the District to avoid its discovery obligations has been to redact or withhold entirely relevant documents on the basis of unsupported claims of law enforcement or deliberative process privileges. This is nothing more than a stalling tactic.”

In Nickles’ world, almost any document qualifies for redaction. Plaintiffs lawyers have seven years of litigation to support this claim. In a footnote, they cite one hilarious example of the AG’s Sharpie abuse.

One document had been redacted for years, the lawyers write, on the basis of law enforcement privilege. The document turned out to be a  “single-page, bullet-point guide for the proper use of a mountain bike.”

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.