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What’s Next in 38 Studios?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

 

The 38 Studios debacle took yet another twist on Friday. Governor Gina Raimondo, who was facing a court hearing in Superior Court on February 23 in regard to the lawsuit filed by GoLocalProv, announced that she was instructing the State Police to release the 38 Studios State Police interviews that were conducted as part of the failed criminal investigation.

The Governor’s latest announcement is yet another position for Raimondo regarding the 38 Studios documents.

In January, her attorneys filed a motion asking that the Governor be dropped from GoLocal’s suit as she is not the custodian of the documents.

GoLocal challenged that claim in a December court filing, “There is a fundamental controversy at the heart of this case: GoLocalProv contends that, even if the Department of Public Safety believes that APRA exemptions might permit it to deny access, the records can be released if the Governor directs the Department of Public Safety to do so.,” wrote GoLocal’s attorney Tom Dickinson. “The Governor desires to release the records, but she appears to believe that she must await conclusion of the civil case and obtain judicial approval prior to permitting the public to see the non-grand jury fruits of this investigation. The records sought by GoLocalProv do not include grand jury transcripts, and this Court must declare that if the Governor wants to release them she may do so without delay or judicial intervention.”

A press release issued by Raimondo's office Friday said, "Rhode Island State Police Colonel Ann Assumpico has directed her agency to review and release the non-grand jury documents in the agency's possession. Those documents will be released as soon as a review is complete."

She also claimed that she "will file a petition in Rhode Island Superior Court early next week to release the documents from the grand jury investigation."

In recent Rhode Island history there have been only two cases in which the courts have directed the release of grant jury materials — the Station Fire and the Cornell Young cases.

Kate Nagle and Tom Dickinson

On GoLocal LIVE on Friday in an interview with GoLocal’s News Editor Kate Nagle, Dickinson outlined the key issues going forward. Watch GoLocal LIVE Interviews HERE

GoLocal's attorney Dickinson said about the Governor's decision, "It's certainly encouraging to hear that the Governor and the State Police now agree with GoLocalProv that the 38 Studios investigation materials are public records and that we don't have to wait for the court to rule on grand jury records. GoLocalProv requested investigative records -- not grand jury transcripts --  back last year in the first week of August. That's over six months ago.

Dickinson is a former Assistant Attorney General In Rhode Island under Jeff Pine, "The State Police told us they would go through the records, and it would take 65 hours to review them all. When we didn't get all the public records we asked for, we had to file a lawsuit in Superior Court. Rhode Island's public records law says that the public is to get access within ten business days of the request. We've now been waiting over six months. Now that the Governor and the State Police agree that these records are public it's long past time to deliver on that promise."

As GoLocal reported about the suit in October:

GoLocalProv.com's attorney Tom Dickinson filed the lawsuit in Superior Court against Raimondo and State Police Colonel Kevin Barry for the release of the State Police interviews and notes relating to the 38 Studios investigation, with Barry sued in his role as acting Superintendent of the State Police and as acting Director of Public Safety.

READ THE LAWSUIT BELOW

In the complaint filed in Superior Court, GoLocal asserted, “There is high public interest to access the items included within the GoLocalProv APRA request.  As the Attorney General stated, 38 Studios involved 'bad politics, bad public policy, and bad business decisions."

"Access to the records sought in the GoLocalProv APRA request is vital in order to examine and expose to public view the causes of these admittedly bad decisions.  On October 14, 2016, Governor Raimondo issued a statement indicating a desire for the release of documents and materials from the 38 Studios investigation," stated GoLocal.

GoLocal had explicitly asserted that it is not seeking grand jury records.

“It is somewhat mind-boggling that the taxpayers lose tens of millions of dollars, that the four-year investigation finds no criminal charges, and then the Raimondo Administration blocks the release of the most basic records — the interviews,” said Josh Fenton, CEO of GoLocalProv.

 

GoLocal’s Attorney Dickinson Appeals to Gain Release of State Police 38 Studios Documents

 

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