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Last week, former-Councilmember Kathy Patterson submitted a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. The letter called into question several statements made by AG Peter Nickles in his sworn submission to Sullivan regarding the Pershing Park case. Councilmembers Phil Mendelson and Mary Cheh have their own critiques. But it was Patterson who sent her letter to the federal judge. The judge then issued an August 20 order releasing it to the various lawyers in the case—-but not to the public.
Soon, the letter made its way to the press. Nickles does not approve of this leak. He may have a point. But it seems a little petty in light of the AG’s promises of a full investigation into the case’s numerous evidence problems. Also, Patterson corrects several errors that she believes were made in Nickles’ sworn statement. Is this really the moment Nickles should go back to playing the bulldog lawyer?
Nickles suggests he wanted time to oppose the public release of Patterson’s letter. In a filing yesterday, Nickles raises the issue with Sullivan:
“Since Ms. Patterson is not a party to this case, the purpose of the Court’s August, Order was to make Ms.Patterson’s correspondence available to all parties and also to inform the parties of the Court’s inclination to post the correspondence on the public docket and to provide the parties with an opportunity to respond publicly. The Court’s Order, however also provided that any objections to the posting of the Patterson Correspondence on the public docket be filed by no later than August 26 and that the Patterson Correspondence would not be made a matter of public record until the Court so ruled.”
Nickles suggests he really wanted to raise objections to Patterson’s letter before it made its way to the press:
“Defendants fully appreciate the Court’s effort to protect the integrity of the judicial process and to give the parties a chance to object to the public disclosure of non-party, unsoliticed comments before making them a matter of public record. It appears, however, that events beyond the control of the parties hereto have overtaken this judicial process. Almost simultaneously with the Court’s receipt of the Patterson Correspondence, it was released to the press and has been widely circulated by the media. Thus, that portion of the Court’s Order concerning the filing of objections to the public posting of the Patterson Correspondence now essentially is moot, and accordingly, any concerns or objections that a party may have lodged with the Court as to such public disclosure would be to no avail.”
Nickles states that he intends to respond to Patterson’s critique “by no later than September 4, 2009.”