SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court case centered on Kerry Gibson’s bid to block release of a police probe into his tenure as Weber County commissioner has taken a step forward.
The journalist challenging his standing to block release of the report, Cathy McKitrick, filed a brief last week outlining her side of things. Next comes the response from Gibson, which his attorney, Peter Stirba, said should be in the next two months or so.
After that would come a response from McKitrick’s side, said Jeremy Brodis, her attorney.
“Then the court would set the case for oral argument, but the question of when they will do that is up in the air at the moment,” Brodis said, noting the Utah Supreme Court decision suspending such arguments due to coronavirus concerns.
The Supreme Court agreed last November to hear McKitrick’s appeal of an Aug. 13 ruling by 2nd District Court Judge Noel Hyde that Gibson has standing to challenge release of the Ogden Police Department investigation at issue. Last week’s filing is the first formal action moving the process forward.
At issue is whether Gibson, a former county commissioner who’s now running for the 1st District U.S. House seat, has the right under state law to sue to block release of the controversial investigation. The Ogden Records Review Board on Sept. 6, 2018, called for release of the document with certain elements redacted, which prompted Gibson’s suit in 2nd District Court in Ogden to block the move. McKitrick, in turn, filed a motion for dismissal of the suit, arguing he has no leeway in state law to challenge the review board decision.
Now Hyde’s ruling from last August is up for review by the Supreme Court.
The police probe, sought by Weber County officials in late 2017 and finished in early 2018, led to no charges of wrongdoing against Gibson. All along he has maintained his innocence and said political foes were behind the matter. Like McKitrick, the Standard-Examiner also filed a public records request for release of the police inquiry.
Gibson, a Republican, is one of several candidates vying for the post now held by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, who isn’t seeking re-election.