Monday, September 8, 2008

Motor city mayor toppled by FOIA request

Detroit, Mich. - On Oct. 19, 2007, the Free Press submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents in the police whistle-blower settlement that cost the City of Detroit $8.4 million. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and lawyers then schemed to hide the documents and cover up lies he told under oath in the lawsuit.

But then things unraveled for the mayor: The Free Press published text messages that exposed his lies, County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged him with eight felonies, and courts ruled that the documents were, in fact, public.

On Thursday, the mayor finally acknowledged his lies, signifying a victory for freedom of the press, the Freedom of Information Act itself, the public's right to know -- and the idea that violating an oath to tell the truth carries severe consequences.

Here are excerpts from the legal drama over the 11 months since the Free Press FOIA request was filed.

For more on this story, go to The Detroit Free Press . Also, for more information on citizen participation in the role of government watchdog via the Freedom of Information Act, go to The National Coalition on Freedom of Information.

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