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NC5 Files Public Records Lawsuit Related To Former TBI Boss' Alleged Affair

Posted at 3:57 PM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 10:54:31-04

Lawyers for NewsChannel 5 have asked a Davidson County judge to order the TBI and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health to produce public records relating to former Acting TBI Director Jason Locke's alleged affair with another state official.

Locke's wife had claimed that the affair was conducted at state expense.

On June 15, NewsChannel 5 Investigates submitted public records requests for travel and phone records, as well as email communications between the two state officials. The investigative team later asked for electronic calendars, purchase card expenditures and text messages.

Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter denied those requests, saying the records were of interest in a criminal investigation opened by the Tennessee Highway Patrol at the request of Gov. Bill Haslam.

In a petition filed Wednesday in Davidson County Chancery Court, NewsChannel 5 lawyer Ron Harris argued the initial requests were made before an investigation was ever opened and that those records do not fit the legal definition of "investigative records."

That petition notes that "these records were generated and held in the normal course of these state agencies' regular business. These records were not generated or prepared in connection with any investigation."

"The Attorney General's office is arguing for an unwarranted and substantial expansion of prior court decisions -- an expansion that is contrary to the public records law and the clearly stated policy of that law," Harris wrote in an accompanying memo.

NewsChannel 5's petition asks the court to order the two agencies to promptly allow the station to review the requested records. It also asks that the agencies be required to reimburse the station for court costs and attorney fees.

A hearing has been set August 14 before Chancellor Russell T. Perkins.

The petition and memorandum are below:


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