Phoenix Wants Secret Court Hearing; Lawyers Don't Want Mayor Phil Gordon's Security Officers to Publicly Testify About Logs Tracking Gordon's Daily Activities

Categories: City Hall
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Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon
Phoenix city attorneys want to shut out the public from a court hearing on Monday that will help a judge decide whether to force the city to release logs kept by Mayor Phil Gordon's publicly funded security detail.

Monday's hearing is the result of a lawsuit filed against Phoenix by Judicial Watch, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., after the city refused to release those records.

The think tank has linked those logs to Gordon's girlfriend and former political fundraiser, Elissa Mullany. Judicial Watch has said it wants to review the records to "shed light on possible misuse of taxpayer resources to further a personal relationship" between Gordon and Mullany.

In a motion filed last week, Phoenix City Attorney Gary Verburg asked Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea to privately review a portion of Gordon's security-detail logs and to privately hear testimony from the members of the mayor's security detail. Read Verburg's motion

Verburg not only wants to keep the public out of the courtroom, he doesn't even want lawyers for Judicial Watch around when the cops testify.

Phoenix police officers -- sergeants Rick Fricke, a former member of Gordon's security detail, and Scott Masino, a current security officer for the mayor -- are lined up to testify during the hearing.

(And New Times has learned that another potential witness for the city will be Paul Johnson, Gordon's longtime BFF and a former Phoenix mayor.)

Keeping Judicial Watch lawyers out of the courtroom would prevent them from cross-examining the witnesses. Phoenix attorneys suggest that Judicial Watch can simply submit questions for the witnesses in writing.

Phoenix officials are concerned that attorneys for Judicial Watch will ask the witnesses questions about "specific facts" in the contents of the security logs, according to court records. The city maintains that releasing those logs or revealing specific details about what's in them would expose Gordon to physical harm, invade his personal privacy, hinder his "deliberative process," and subject him (and the city) to "undue burden or harassment."

Judicial Watch argues, in part, that a secret hearing violates the Arizona Constitution, which dictates "justice in all cases shall be administered openly." They also contend that barring them -- as plaintiffs -- from the proceedings violates their rights to "due process."

In court records, Judicial Watch said that, absent "compelling reasons," the court hearing should be open to the public. Its lawyers also said that "given the public's compelling interest in knowing the contents of public records, the City should not be allowed to present an unchallenged view of the [security-detail logs]." Read Judicial Watch's response

Up until October 2009, records were kept by Gordon's security detail to track where they picked up and dropped off Gordon on a daily basis, as well as who traveled with him in his vehicle. The logs would also reveal whether the security detail was used inappropriately to shuttle around individuals other than Gordon.

Some of the records requested are now more than a year old. Judicial Watch requested them in December, but they were initially requested by the media in July 2009.

The city continues to withhold the documents, even though Phoenix police officers assigned to Gordon's security detail admitted under oath (to Judicial Watch lawyers during depositions) that the logs "do not include state secrets or other highly confidential information" and "merely contain information about what the Mayor's Security Detail did and where it went on a daily basis."

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tdhurst
tdhurst

This town feels like Chicago during prohibition. Is there anyone who follows the law and uses our tax dollars appropriately?

Deniseaz
Deniseaz

wherewasi

kinda be nice to see a different show for once . all t he ringleaders of this circus of this state and county and city . gosh , makes Bell Cal. look just like a side show in a line up of freakside shows . and i just cannot wait to see what is under that big top when the feds go to tameing the animals

wherewasi
wherewasi

Poor Phil. He's the lesser of the bad guys here in Phoenix. How could he possibly hope to get his share of negative media when Arpaio has new incriminating evidence against him turning up every day?

Don't worry, Phil. You're getting spot-lighted as well. Once Arpaio is behind bars, you'll be center stage.

Noone
Noone

I am sure that Lawyer Gary Verberg is also a friend of both Mullany and Gordon and gave money to his campain as well

Fuckem
Fuckem

His previous security log is HISTORY....its in the past, there is no reason to protect it. Even so, you cant keep attorneys involved in the case from cross examining them at time of testimony! Who the fuck do these wiseguys think they are?

Bill Stoller and Gerri Cocozza
Bill Stoller and Gerri Cocozza

Judging by the Email and phone surveys, The Class West Associates are glad to see Tommy C side with them. "Jogger 5" in East Mesa wrote,

" yeah...they say that Tommy c was a cop, so he knows the scam in Phoenix despite his liberal leanings. Gordon is a lying corrupt mayor who has stolen our tax money for too long. Our people from www.badphoenixcops.com got inside info on Gordon being a drunke and a junkie too ----- hooked on booze and Oxycontin. Fuck him, he should be in prsion, not City Hall...."

Check out www.badphoenixcops.blogspot.co... for the latest on Phoenix police and government (gobierno en espanol) corruption. That's www.badphoenixcops.com - where the TRUTH hurts! OUCH!!!!!!!

HMG with JTR, online and on time.

"

JesterJackson
JesterJackson

Thank God for Judicial Watch shining a light on that cockroach!

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Transparency, Mr. Mayor. If you have nothing to hide, let them see the records.

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