Attorney general’s office sues reporter over access to Sean Reyes’ calendar

May 30, 2024, 6:43 PM

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes speaks during the first Silicon Slopes Artificial Intelligence ...

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes speaks during the first Silicon Slopes Artificial Intelligence Summit at Utah Valley University in Orem on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday sued a local reporter and the State Records Committee in the latest attempt to shield Attorney General Sean Reyes’ official calendar from public view.

The lawsuit comes less than a month after Judge Patrick Corum awarded KSL TV $132,241 in attorney’s fees in a separate lawsuit seeking to compel Reyes to turn over his official calendar. In February, a judge ruled in favor of KSL TV reporter Annie Knox and said Reyes’ calendars are part of the public record.

Reyes’ office has since filed its intention to appeal that case to a higher court.

Amid ongoing questions about Reyes’ activities, Jessica Miller, a Salt Lake Tribune reporter, filed an open records request for several years of calendars in October 2023. Reyes’ office on Tuesday sued Miller along with the State Records Committee, after the committee ruled that the attorney general’s calendar is subject to disclosure under the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act.

The lawsuit states that Reyes’ office initially declined to release his calendars, stating: “The office does not maintain an official schedule for the attorney general. Additionally, Utah Code § 63G-2-103(22)(b)(ix) provides that ‘a daily calendar or other personal note prepared by the originator for the originator’s personal use or for the personal use of an individual for whom the originator is working’ is not a ‘record’ subject to GRAMA. Accordingly, the office does not maintain any records responsive to your request.”

The complaint asks a judge in Utah’s 3rd Judicial District Court to rule that Reyes’ calendar is “not a record” under state law and “therefore not subject to disclosure.”

Assistant Attorney General Vanessa Walsh argued in the lawsuit that the judge’s ruling in the case involving KSL TV should not apply to Miller’s records request because she was seeking calendars from a longer period of time.

Reyes has long been under scrutiny for how he spends time in office and has recently faced increased pressure due to his longstanding relationship with anti-trafficking activist Tim Ballard, who faces a series of allegations of sexual misconduct. Ballard has denied those claims, but Reyes said in December he believes the women and would launch an investigation.

Reyes has declined to make his calendar public as previous attorneys general have done. Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson voluntarily release their calendars to the public each week.

An attorney for the Tribune told the newspaper, “The AG’s office has already had three bites at the apple … and they won’t take three ‘Nos’ for an answer.”

“The Tribune wishes it didn’t have to fight these issues that have already been won,” Mike Judd said, according to the paper, “but the public has a right to access this information, and because, as so often is the case, the Tribune is acting on the public’s behalf, the Tribune is willing to fight for these records.”

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Attorney general’s office sues reporter over access to Sean Reyes’ calendar