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I just got an e-mail from Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, an open government advocate. He said the Centre City Development Corp.’s attorney cited irrelevant case law in denying my records requests for Nancy Graham’s e-mails.

The attorney, Gus Lamanna, said Graham’s e-mails shouldn’t be disclosed because they could prejudice a potential jury hearing the three misdemeanor charges she faces.

Francke said that argument doesn’t hold water. He wrote:

To me the clearest reason why the fair trial prejudice argument has no bearing here is that unlike the situation in the murder case cited in the response (the sole case in 40 years employing this rationale, by the way), there is no right to a jury trial for misdemeanors, and the entire fair trial prejudice argument is about the risk of a prejudiced jury.  Judges are presumed to be able to withstand prejudicial pretrial publicity, in other words. The fair trial argument is a complete red herring.

ROB DAVIS

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