SN&R’s latest day in court against Mayor Kevin Johnson

It’s been more than a year since SN&R made public-records requests to learn how and why Mayor Kevin Johnson’s staff used private Gmail accounts for city and other business.

It’s been nearly a year since the mayor sued SN&R to block access to more than 400 emails, citing client-attorney privilege, and almost 11 months since SN&R met Johnson in court to argue otherwise.

Thousands of emails using the OMKJ (“Office of Mayor Kevin Johnson”) address were eventually discovered on the city’s email servers. The emails showed mayoral staff was being used to support Johnson’s work on behalf of nonprofit entities.

Much wrangling has since ensued, including a privilege log prepared by the mayor’s legal team and the subsequent release of hundreds of withheld emails that turned out to not be privileged at all. Then, in April, the court released a tentative ruling declaring that Johnson’s attorneys at Ballard Spahr failed to prove the 158 remaining emails and attachments are privileged—the court directed Johnson and SN&R to further “meet and confer” on whether certain emails are protected.

Our lawyers did just that, even as Johnson’s lawyers took the unusual step of revising the privilege log to reflect for the first time that several of the emails had been forwarded to Ballard Spahr attorneys—and were thus protected.

We return to court Friday, June 3.Then, the judge will determine the fate of the remaining messages and attachments.

What to expect? SN&R is confident that the court will agree with us that at least some additional emails—withheld by Johnson for over a year—will be made public.