Court Asked To Block Release Of Newtown 911 Tapes
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut prosecutor is asking a court to block the release of 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as he seeks the reversal of an order from the state’s Freedom of Information Commission.
A New Britain Superior Court judge is holding a hearing Friday on the request for a stay from Stephen Sedensky III, the state’s attorney who has fought to keep the recordings sealed in his role as the lead investigator of the Dec. 14 massacre.
In September, the FOI commission ruled the recordings of calls from inside the school must be provided to The Associated Press, which sought them in part in examine the police response to the massacre. Sedensky has appealed that ruling.
“A stay will ensure that the appeal will not be moot and will remain viable pending its resolution,” Sedensky wrote in a court filing. “Additionally, a stay will protect crime victims and witnesses as well as allow information relative to child abuse to remain protected.”
The AP and the FOI commission have opposed the request for a stay, writing in a joint filing that there is no reason for Sedensky to continue withholding the records. If the 911 recordings are released, the AP would review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the news cooperative’s standards for publication.
“911 tapes routinely are disclosed to the public, and Plaintiff cannot meet the standard for staying enforcement of the Commission’s decision,” attorneys for the AP and the commission wrote.
The Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed 20 children and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle. Lanza, who also killed his mother inside their house earlier in the day, committed suicide as police arrived at the school.
As the dispute over the 911 recordings shifts from the FOI commission to the courts, Sedensky has re-asserted his arguments that releasing them could subject witnesses to harassment from conspiracy theorists and violate survivors from the school who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse.
Investigators have not revealed a possible motive for the massacre. Sedensky is preparing a report on the shooting that is expected to be released before the winter.
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