District attorney, evidence room auditor file affidavits in open records case

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore and Mike Wright, who audited the Asheville Police Department’s old evidence room, have filed affidavits in response to the open records lawsuit from local media (including Xpress), seeking the release of the audit. The lawsuit goes to court Sept. 4.

In his affidavit, Moore claims that because the audit is related to ongoing investigations, it can’t be released.

“At this time, I have determined that the release of the report or any portions of it to the city would likely jeopardize one or more criminal prosecutions; undermine ongoing or future investigations and create publicity, which might prevent a Defendant from receiving a fair trial,” Moore writes in the affidavit.

While the contract Wright’s company, Blueline Systems, signed with the city of Asheville requires it to provide a redacted copy once completed, he claims that the District Attorney isn’t ready to provide that yet, and any redactions will be made according to his “sole judgement.”

“The District Attorney has not yet informed Blueline that he has finished reviewing the inventory report or that he has determined if any information in the report can be disclosed to the city without jeopardizing criminal investigations or prosecutions,” Wright writes in his affidavit.

The lawsuit filed by local media in June, contends that the document is a public record, noting “a catalogue of the items in the evidence room, specifying which items have gone missing, does not ‘pertain to a person or group of persons’ and therefore does not meet the definition of ‘records of criminal investigations’ set out in the statute.”

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