Online news and gossip site Gawker has sued in a New Jersey court for access to any and all correspondence between Governor Chris Christie (R, pictured) and Fox News President Roger Ailes. The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU for Gawker, came after the governor’s office refused a freedom of information request for the material.
Gawker’s attempt to see the communications came after New York magazine reported in May that Ailes had encouraged Christie to run for president. In a later interview with the Daily Beast Ailes denied urging Christie to run for the White House.
When Gawker reporter John Cook filed the request for any correspondence between Ailes and Christie, along with records indicating whether the two spoke by phone or met, the governor’s office turned him down, saying that “the records you seek, if they exist, would be exempt from disclosure” based on executive privilege and “well-settled case law.”
The ACLU doesn’t agree that the law is settled at all and is seeking a court order to either declare that all or the documents requested are public records and have to be handed over to Gawker, or to require the governor’s office to explain how executive privilege applies to each of the individual records requested. If necessary, it wants the judge to review each document and decide whether it is protected by executive privilege.