In yet another headache for beleagured San Mateo County District Attorney, Steve Wagstaffe, multiple public records requests seeking copies of any writings which would substantiate Mr. Wagstaffe's representation to the news media that prosecutor Melissa McKowan
was investigated and that the DA acted "appropritely" in handling the investigation are enroute to his office by fax, e-mail and in some cases hand delivery.
This is a most sticky wicket for Wagstaffe because the public records submitted do not seek personnel records nor is it clear that the Peace Officer Bill of Rights which affords special protections from similar demands for public records applies.
Another problem for Wagstaffe is precedent. Four years ago a San Mateo County judge ruled against a former Atherton Finance Director who sought to protect his right to privacy by squashing a personnel investigation. The judge ruled that the finance director was a public official.
The question now facing Wagstaffe is that if a judge were to rule McKowan is a public official (a strong possibility given her involvement in a high profile child molestation case) then Wagstaffe faces the prospect of being caught in a lie.
Count on lots of County money being spent defending what we can anticipate as Wagstaffe's refusal to hand over public records.
Then again Wagstaffe could just resign and spare us all the intrigue. Chances of that happening now seem remote at best. People inside the office speak of a bunker mentality and a man at the top with a persecution complex.