Texts involving ex-Detroit mayor ordered released

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DETROIT (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday ordered the release of approximately 1,400 text messages sent or received by Detroit's disgraced former mayor and his ex-lover on their city pagers.

The text messages are public records and are not subject to attorney-client and other privileges as claimed by attorneys for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and ex-chief of staff Christine Beatty, Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny ruled.

Kenny also suggested the messages may shed light on government misconduct, which trumps any attempt to keep them sealed.

The messages were under seal as part of the criminal case against Beatty, who is in jail for obstruction of justice. But the Detroit Free Press asked that the messages be released, saying they may reveal possible wrongdoing.

"It certainly vindicates our position and does so in a very dramatic way," Free Press attorney Herschel Fink said. "There may be evidence of illegality. He (the judge) certainly said that."

The messages will be released Monday unless the state appeals court intervenes, the judge said. The city of Detroit and lawyers for Kilpatrick and Beatty said they didn't know if they would appeal.

Kilpatrick and Beatty pleaded guilty to committing obstruction of justice to cover up their affair, which came to light in January 2008 when the Free Press published text messages contradicting their sworn testimony.

They lied while testifying in a civil lawsuit in 2007.

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