Ohio GOP urges court to make Ed FitzGerald give sworn testimony in public records suit

From The Plain Dealer Filings with the Ohio Supreme Court make clear that the Ohio Republican Party isn't willing to mediate its public records dispute with Cuyahoga County and that it wants sworn testimony from County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

In a filing Monday, lawyers for the Republican Party argued that FitzGerald, as the chief executive, is the person who best could answer questions about the county's refusal to release the documents due to security reasons. That refusal, they say, should be put to the test.

The filing was in response to a request by the county, on behalf of FitzGerald, that he not be made to give a deposition. FitzGerald was scheduled to give a deposition last week, but the Supreme Court delayed that while it decides the county's request.

Attorneys for the county said FitzGerald and Sheriff Frank Bova are not responsible for the records and therefore would offer no valuable information to offer in depositions.

County attorneys described efforts by the GOP to depose FitzGerald as an attempt "to create newspaper fodder in the middle of a gubernatorial campaign."

The Ohio GOP sued in the Supreme Court in July to force FitzGerald, the Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. John Kasich, to release data about his use of a county parking garage and key swipe data that would show his comings and goings.

County officials declined to release the records, which also were requested by Northeast Ohio Media Group, citing safety concerns. FitzGerald called the lawsuit a "political tactic," arguing that he, like the governor, faces legitimate security concerns. He said he had received death threats and that some of the cases involving the threats remain open.

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