Sunday, July 6, 2014

Idaho Mountain Express: CNN files lawsuit against Blaine County

Posted By on Sun, Jul 6, 2014 at 3:06 PM


Cable News Network has filed a lawsuit against Blaine County after twice being denied a report from a 1999 police investigation involving the family of Bowe Bergdahl.

Bergdahl, a 28-year-old U.S. Army sergeant form Hailey who was held as a prisoner by the Taliban for five years, has received national and international news media attention since his capture in June 2009. Controversy has grown since his May 31 release over allegations that Bergdahl deserted his post—and even aided his captors—though a formal investigation recently cleared Bergdahl of any misconduct during his years of captivity.

The suit was filed on June 25 by Debora K. Kristensen of the Boise law firm Givens Pursley, and claims the report is subject to disclosure based on Idaho public records statutes. But the Idaho Mountain Express reports that Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey doesn't want to give up the information.

"I have declined to release the report because I feel it should be exempt from disclosure because it would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," Ramsey told the Express. He said no charges were filed in the 1999 investigation.

CNN is seeking a court order requiring the release of the report, and a hearing is scheduled for July 21 at 2 p.m. before Judge Robert J. Elgee.

Ramsey did provide CNN with three other reports, including one dated March 27, 1998, when the Bergdahl family reported someone drove past their residence and shot out the rear window of one of their vehicles with a pellet gun. Bowe was 12 at the time and witnessed the shooting. 

Then, on Jan. 29, 2013, a welfare check of the Bergdahl home was requested by an estranged Idaho Falls father, whose children and wife were staying with the Bergdahls. Officers found the "children were safe and well taken care of."

And on Aug. 25, 2013, there was a report involving Bowe's father, Bob, and mother, Jani, in an incident of "road rage." According to the report, the Bergdahls followed a man on their motorcycles after they claimed he cut them off in his car on Highway 75. The driver said he suspected he was being followed and drove to the Sun Valley Police Department. After a discussion with the police, it's stated that both parties apologized.

The Express dug up another undisclosed report involving Bowe's mother in 2007, when she was convicted of a "vicious dogs" misdemeanor violation. She pleaded guilty and was given a 10-day suspended jail sentence and fined $225.50. Court records show another case involving Bowe, but it's sealed.

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