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Gawker Complaint

Gawker Complaint

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Published by Gawker.com
Gawker Media's complaint, filed with the help of the New Jersey ACLU, against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office seeking records of Christie's communications with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.
Gawker Media's complaint, filed with the help of the New Jersey ACLU, against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office seeking records of Christie's communications with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

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Published by: Gawker.com on Jul 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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FRANK L. CORRADO, ESQUIREBARRY, CORRADO GRASSI & GIBSON, P. C.2700 Pacific AvenueWildwood, NJ 08260(609) 729-1333EDWARD BAROCAS, ESQUIREJEANNE LoCICERO, ESQUIREBOBBY CONNER, ESQUIREAmerican Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey FoundationP.O. Box 32159Newark, NJ 07102(973) 642-2086Attorneys for PlaintiffGAWKER ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, andJOHN COOK,Plaintiffs,v.JEFFREY S. CHIESA, in hisofficial capacity, and theCUSTODIAN OF RECORDS, Office ofthe Governor, State of NewJersey,Defendants.SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEYLAW DIVISIONMERCER COUNTYDOCKET NO.Civil ActionCOMPLAINT IN LIEU OFPREROGATIVE WRITPlaintiffs, by way of complaint against defendants, herebyaver:1. Gawker Entertainment, LLC, is a limited liabilitycompany, organized under the laws of New York, with offices at1
210 Elizabeth Street, Floor 4, New York, NY 10012. It is anonline media company that operates the Gawker.com website, whichis devoted to, among other things, news about New York media.2. John Cook is an adult individual, employed by GawkerEntertainment as a journalist and blogger on Gawker.com. Inthat position, Cook regularly covers, reports on, and blogsabout media news. Cook resides in Brooklyn, New York.3. Jeffrey Chiesa is an adult individual, and is chiefcounsel to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Chiesa is suedin his official capacity only.4.The Custodian of Records for the Office of theGovernor is the individual responsible under the Open PublicRecords Act to maintain the Office's government records and topermit their inspection, examination and copying pursuant tothat statute. See N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, -5. The custodian issued in his official capacity.5. The Office of the Governor is a “public agency” that“ma[kes], maintain[s] or keep[s] on file” government records,and is therefore subject to the New Jersey Open Public RecordsAct, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.6. On May 22, 2011, New York magazine reported that FoxNews Channel chairman Roger Ailes had "called [Gov.] Christieand encouraged him to jump into the [2012 presidential] race."2
The magazine also reported that, during the summer of 2010,Ailes hosted Christie for dinner at his Putnam County, New York,home. On June 5, 2011, Ailes confirmed in an interview with theDaily Beast that he had invited Christie to dinner, but deniedurging him to run for president.7. Cook read the New York magazine article. Accordingly,on May 25, 2011, Cook – in his capacity as a journalist employedby Gawker Entertainment - sent an OPRA request to the Office ofthe Governor, in which he sought copies of 1) correspondence,electronic and otherwise, between Ailes and Christie or RichardBagger, Christie’s chief of staff; 2) entries in Christie’s orBagger’s call logs indicating telephone calls to or from Ailes;3) written messages for Christie or Bagger indicating calls fromAiles; and 4) entries in Christie’s schedule indicatingmeetings, meals or visits with Ailes. Cook sought these recordsfor the period January 19, 2010, forward. See Exhibit A.8. By letter of June 14, 2011, issued by Chiesa, theOffice of the Governor denied Cook’s OPRA request. The letterof denial stated: “Please be advised that the records you areseeking, if they exist, would be exempt from disclosure pursuantto OPRA based upon the executive privilege and well-settled caselaw. [Citations omitted.] As such, this office will not beproviding any records pursuant to your request.” See Exhibit B.3

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