News outlets and the public will be able to attend a hearing next week in New Orleans on the confidentiality of emails between Catholic officials and the city’s NFL franchise concerning clergy sex-abuse scandals.
A state judge in New Orleans ruled Thursday that the Feb. 20 hearing will be open, although she cautioned attorneys that they must not disclose the contents of the emails at that hearing.
As The Associated Press reported last month, victims’ lawyers allege that hundreds of Saints emails show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ clergy abuse crisis. The team has gone to court to keep the emails from being made public, saying court rules would ordinarily keep them under seal and that the plaintiffs’ lawyers want them released “for publicity purposes.”
A court-appointed special master is to determine whether they may be released and will preside over next week’s hearing.
The AP has been allowed to intervene in the effort to get the emails released and lawyers for the news cooperative are being allowed to participate in arguments for release of the emails. Until the judge ruled Thursday, the Feb. 20 hearing before the special master was to be closed to the public.
The owners of The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, WVUE-TV, WWL-TV and WDSU-TV filed a motion for access to the hearing. A lawyer for the local news outlets said the AP should not be the only media outlet present at the hearing.
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