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GOP takes e-mail case to NJ court

  Political and Legal  -   POSTED: 2009/02/13 16:32

Republican Party officials in New Jersey have asked the state's highest court to consider whether Gov. Jon Corzine should be forced to release e-mails he exchanged with the union leader he once dated.


Party spokesman Todd Riffle said papers were filed late Wednesday asking the state Supreme Court to hear the case.

GOP leader Tom Wilson hopes to get the court to order the Democratic governor to release the e-mails he and his staff exchanged with Carla Katz.

Corzine dated Katz, the leader of the state's largest state worker union, before he became governor. Wilson argues that the public has the right to see the e-mails Corzine and his staff exchanged with Katz during the 2007 labor talks to ensure no backdoor negotiations took place.

"The public has the right to judge for themselves whether Corzine's conduct was appropriate," Wilson said in a statement Thursday. "To do so, they need to see the e-mails and look at Corzine's actions on this contract."

Corzine and Katz were involved in the negotiations, though neither were principal negotiators.

Corzine has said the two did not discuss the contract. Katz, in court papers, however, argued that the e-mails should remain private because they involve contract talks, which are exempt from Open Public Records Act requests.

An appellate court ruled unanimously last month that Corzine's e-mails could stay private. That decision overturned a trial court ruling ordering the e-mails released.

The Appeals Court said the governor's electronic correspondence was protected by executive privilege, a legal principle that allows members of the executive branch of government to keep certain communications confidential in order to govern effectively.


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