Published January 29, 2004
MONTPELIER, Vt. – A Superior Court judge has delayed a ruling on a conservative group's lawsuit to force presidential candidate Howard Dean (search) to release sealed documents from his time as Vermont governor.
The group, Judicial Watch (search), wants Dean to open some 150 boxes of documents. The boxes were sealed after Dean struck an agreement with the Vermont Secretary of State's office.
The group filed suit in December.
Judicial Watch claims that Dean's legal argument for sealing the records -- executive privilege -- was not properly invoked in the case. The Vermont attorney general's office, representing Dean, has said the records were properly sealed under the law.
In delaying his ruling Judge Alan Cook told the attorney general's office to file a response to Judicial Watch's case soon.
Chief Assistant Attorney General William Griffin (search) told Cook that his office expected to file a motion asking Judicial Watch's suit to be thrown out by March 1.
A former Vermont resident, Scott Huminski, has asked to join the suit and has filed motions seeking to disqualify Attorney General William Sorrell (search) from defending Dean because of the two's close political and personal relationship.
A self-described "citizen-reporter," Huminski was barred in 1999 from Vermont court property by two state judges after he posted signs critical of one on his van. A federal judge later overturned the no-trespass orders, ruling that Huminski had been the victim of retaliation for his political views.
Cook said he would rule on Huminski's request to join the suit soon.
Attorneys for Judicial Watch said the group had no position on Huminski's status as long as it did not delay the case.