April 01, 2020
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed its opposition to South Bend, IN’s attempt to prevent former Mayor Pete Buttigieg from testifying under oath in a Judicial Watch Access to Public Records Act (APRA) lawsuit. The lawsuit seeksrecords of communications of Buttigieg’s office related to the creation of a municipal ID card for illegal aliens, and concerns whether personal email accounts were used to conduct official city business.
The ID card was created by La Casa de Amistad, a local not-for-profit corporation. In a June 8, 2019, report the ID card — or Community Resident Card — was referred to as “a novel approach” that other cities were looking to replicate. At the time, Buttigieg was a candidate for the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination. The report notes that the mayor worked closely with La Casa de Amistad on the program.
Judicial Watch filed suit after the City of South Bend failed to properly respond to four open records requests seeking several categories of records, including emails between Buttigieg, members of his staff and officials of La Casa de Amistad regarding the Community Resident Card program (Judicial Watch v. City of South Bend (No. 71C01-1908-Ml-000389)).
In its recent filing Judicial Watch told the court that the city “continuously made demands for specificity that are not mandated by APRA or related case law. In addition, the city informed Judicial Watch that only one email exists between Mayor Buttigieg’s Office and La Casa relating to the creation of the program and that no emails exist between Mayor Buttigieg’s Office and other city agencies on the same topic.”
Judicial Watch argues Buttigieg’s deposition is necessary:
Mayor Buttigieg’s deposition is necessary to determine what potentially responsive records exist, how they were maintained during his tenure, how the same records were preserved upon the completion of his term, and what directives about record creation and retention, if any, he provided the city as the head of the public agency.
Only Mayor Buttigieg has the answers to these questions. He was the Mayor when the records would have been created. He was also the Mayor when [Judicial Watch] submitted the APRA requests. In addition, he was the Mayor when the City responded to [Judicial Watch’s] APRA requests. Plainly put, Mayor Buttigieg is an obvious fact witness.
Judicial Watch also pointed out that the two city representatives who were deposed in the case “did not have the knowledge” needed to testify on the matter.
“Mayor Pete Buttigieg and South Bend officials have been playing games with their emails, and we’ve asked the court to allow Buttigieg to testify about his emails,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The public has the right to know about Mayor Buttigieg’s effort to use a private entity to make it easier for illegal aliens to remain in the United States.”
Judicial Watch also announced today it filed a motion in the Circuit Court in Saint Joseph County, IN, in its Access to Public Records Act (APRA) case against the City of South Bend for all records and recordings related to South Bend Police Chief Brian Young’s telephone calls which reportedly contain racist comments and discuss illegal activity (Judicial Watch v. City of South Bend (No. 71C01-1911-MI-000793)). The City of South Bend refuses to turn over the tapes and records, even after an Indiana Judge ruled in a separate case that they are not confidential or protected by wiretapping laws. Judicial Watch is asking the court to order the production of the records.
Judicial Watch is represented by Andrew B. Jones of the Jones Law Office LLC.