JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The fight for public records in the Michael Dunn case Monday grew more heated – and possibly more expensive. Lawyers for local media including First Coast News filed an emergency motion asking the state to pay their legal fees.
At issue are hundreds of hours of jailhouse recordings made by Dunn, accused of killing 17 year old Jordan Davis in 2012 after a fight over loud music.
Local media has been asking for the recordings for months, but despite two directives from the 1st District Court of Appeals, prosecutors say it will cost over $6,000 and take several weeks to listen to and redact them. By that time, the trial may well be over.
Florida law allows lawyers to recoup fees if an agency unlawfully withheld public records. In today's filling, lawyers asserted that the motives behind State Attorney Angela Corey's "foot-dragging" were made clear in recent public comments in which she reportedly said, "the public doesn't need to know anything about a case before it goes to trial."
Corey did not respond with comment, but late today her office filed a response, defending the time and costs incurred.
First Coast News General Manager Eric Land had this to say: "First Coast News and our coverage partners at the Times-Union are committed to spend what it takes to protect the Freedom of Information rights shared by all citizens in our communities. Holding the powerful accountable is media's role in a democracy; frustrating the Supreme Court's intent to protect our rights will be met with vigorous defense."
The Dunn trial is set to begin Feb 3 at the Duval County Courthouse.