WMAZ-TV in Macon is reporting that the divorce papers of Republican congressional candidate Austin Scott will remain sealed — at least until well after the Nov. 2 election:
A Tift County judge won’t rule until at least Dec. 6 on whether congressional candidate Austin Scott’s divorce records will be unsealed.
After hearing arguments on both sides, the judge ruled this morning that Scott and his ex-wife, Annette Jordan, hadn’t had 30 days to respond to the suit brought by a Democratic activist.
Their lawyers told the judge that Scott and his wife were served with court papers on Oct. 12 and 16.
Judge Bill Reinhardt said he was aware of “the elephant in the room” — the Nov. 2 election for the 8th Congressional District seat — but said the law is the law.
Macon attorney Carmel Sanders filed the motion to make the records public on behalf of her client, Amy Morton. She argues that Scott, a Republican state representative, got special treatment when the divorce records were sealed in 2004. They also say no hearing was held on whether to seal the records, as required by law.
Scott is locked in a tight race with U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon.
Mike Stucka of the Macon Telegraph adds this to the mix:
Sanders said Scott’s attorney, Gregory Sowell of Tifton, had already told the judge he planned to appeal if he lost, which would also keep the records closed longer.
“Bottom line is, they would have done anything to keep us from getting those records today,” Sanders said. “They just want to get past the election. There’s clearly something so damning in those records, they don’t want anyone to know.”
Updated at 5:30 p.m.:Sam Ray, the Scott campaign spokesman called this afternoon to say that Scott had not intended to appeal any court decision — but that his ex-wife had planned to do so.
And Doug Moore, spokesman for the Marshall campaign, sent this:
“Georgia law requires that public records be open to public inspection even if they include damaging information like the rumors circulated by Republicans about Scott’s divorce records. Since these divorce records will eventually be opened, Jim’s thought all along that Scott should simply open them if they disprove the rumors.”