In an attempt to block the release of emails sent while a member of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson filed a restraining order request against the city, citing “attorney client privilege.”

The Sacramento News and Review on June 12 filed a public records request for the emails that Johnson sent involving his relationship with the NCBM. James Sanchez, the city attorney who deemed them to be public record, is planning to release them to the media, including SNR, KCRA 3, and others, on July 6—thereby prompting the restraining order request.

Peter Haviland, attorney for Mayor Johnson, released the following statement on July 1:

“No responsible journalist nor attorney disputes that the attorney-client privilege is a bedrock of America’s civil society. Public records requests are not intended to violate that privilege and the law does not allow the disclosure of attorney-client privileged materials pursuant to public records requests.

The Sacramento Bee, who is a participant in the records request, agrees.

The writ petition filed today by the National Conference of Black Mayors, the Chapter 7 Trustee for the Estate of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and Mayor Kevin Johnson in his capacity as former President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, is not a lawsuit against anyone for damages nor is it an action to prevent the release of public records. It is only a ‘writ’—a common and simple procedure designed to protect attorney-client privileged documents.

All of the parties who filed this writ, including Mayor Kevin Johnson, are committed to transparency and disclosure of all appropriate public records. They are equally committed to the bedrock principle of attorney-client privilege, which is recognized in the public records request statute.”

Related Practices

Media and Entertainment Law