Judge hears CNN lawsuit over Bergdahl documents

CNN versus Blaine County

HAILEY, Idaho -- A court battle is underway in Blaine County over whether a document involving the Bergdahl family should be released.

Last month, CNN filed a petition to gain access to the document after the county denied their public records request twice.

A hearing was held on the issue Monday.

CNN filed a 24-page petition on June 25. It says they asked for any law enforcement record since the year Bowe was born.

Three records were released, while one was not.

In court Monday, they argued that document, whatever is it, should be shared with the public.

The hour-long hearing started with Blaine County Attorney Tim Graves standing by the decision to not release a record from Nov. 4, 1999.

"Disclosure of those records would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," Graves said.

Graves says he could not give details about the documents without releasing sensitive information.

"The balancing of the press' rights to know, the public's right to know, has come up squarely against individuals' needs to have their personal, private information kept private," said Graves.

But CNN's attorney Deb Kristensen argued the report involves law enforcement, which falls under public records law, and is an inactive investigation.

"The courts of allowed the public records to be just that, given to the public, and if there are articulated narrow concerns going to be redacted, access is to be granted," said Kristensen.

Kristensen argued that not releasing the documents would set a precedent, blocking the media and the public from relevant information.

"These are not bank accounts or medical records, these are law enforcement records, specifically inactive records in this case, a 15-year-old record," she said. "My position is the public and the media have a right to know what law enforcement is doing."

After Judge Robert Elgee finished questioning both attorneys, he decided to review the records himself, then make a decision. It's unclear how long that will take.


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