The City of Charlotte has announced it will withhold releasing vast amounts of public records about former mayor Patrick Cannon.
Public records laws allow taxpayers to view the documents their dollars create—with certain exceptions lawmakers have deemed private. After Cannon’s arrest for public corruption charges on March 26th, media outlets, including WFAE, requested reams of e-mails, schedules, and other records relating to the former mayor.
But the city received a letter from a federal prosecutor on Monday. It asks city officials to wait 60 days before releasing publicly any document also requested by prosecutors.
The letter says, “Our desire is not to thwart the N.C. Public Records Act, rather to protect the investigation pending review of the materials.”
Prosecutors have requested any document at all related to Cannon from 2010 through the day of his arrest.
The city says it will comply. City council agendas and other general communications would be exempted, but otherwise, that means holding back every public record involving Cannon for the past four-plus years.
Local media are considering their legal options. Charlotte Observer staff met with a lawyer on Friday.