Officials Draft Secret Bill to Keep Sandy Hook Records Under Wraps

By:  Michael Tennant
05/22/2013
       
Officials Draft Secret Bill to Keep Sandy Hook Records Under Wraps

Connecticut officials are secretly drawing up legislation that would prevent the release of many records of the investigation into the December shootings at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.

What are Connecticut officials trying to hide with regard to last year’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School? That is the question raised by a Hartford Courant story indicating that top officials in the executive and legislative branches are secretly collaborating to draft a bill that would “withhold records related to the police investigation into the Dec. 14 Newtown elementary school massacre — including victims’ photos, tapes of 911 calls, and possibly more.”

The Courant discovered the behind-the-scenes machinations Tuesday when it obtained a copy of an e-mail from Timothy J. Sugrue, a top assistant to Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane. Sugrue “discussed options considered so far” in the e-mail, which was sent to “Kane, two other Kane subordinates and to Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky, who is directing the investigation of the killings,” the paper reported.

Sugrue wrote that he was in contact with Natalie Wagner, a member of Gov. Daniel Malloy’s legal counsel staff, who expected the draft language to be “forthcoming” Tuesday — the bill was being worked on by leaders in both houses of the General Assembly — and would “send [Sugrue] the draft in confidence when she receives it,” upon which he would “immediately forward it.”

In other words, the bill, whose purpose is to keep many of the details of the Sandy Hook investigation secret, is itself being drawn up in secret. It “has not been handled under routine legislative procedures — it hasn’t gone through the committee process, which includes a public hearing, for example,” the Courant observed.

The bill turned out not to be ready by the end of Tuesday, leaving those not privy to the secret negotiations to speculate on its contents.

The newspaper reported that the original intention was to amend “the state’s freedom of information law by adding a blanket exemption to disclosure of any ‘criminal investigation photograph, film, videotape, other image or recording or report depicting or describing the victim or victims’” — an idea opposed by Freedom of Information Commission director Colleen Murphy.

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