by Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – In a press conference at his MidTown headquarters, mayoral candidate Dr. Ed Shadid fired back at the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, for a copyrighted story critical of his efforts to keep under judicial seal some aspects of his 2007 divorce.
In a statement to The City Sentinel, Shadid, the Ward 2 City Council member who is challenging incumbent Mayor Mick Cornett in the March 4 election, said he is disappointed in “tabloid tactics that make a mockery of our legal system.”
In the news story, The Oklahoman said Shadid tried to keep “criminal wrongdoing” from coming out in the divorce case. A judge sealed the records at request of Shadid and his ex-wife.
Concerning a lawsuit now pending before the state Supreme Court that focuses on the sealed material, Dr. Shadid said Sunday, “It would be inappropriate at this point in time to comment to the media directly about the substance of the matter with one exception: my invocation of the 5th amendment during my divorce proceedings was related solely to the question of whether I used marijuana many years ago.”
In many meetings around the city, Shadid has acknowledged past addiction issues. He advocates greater understanding of addiction issues in the community. His litigation now at the state High Court was filed after a local judge hinted she might remove the seal. Shadid wants the seal retained, he says, out of concern for his three minor children.
In a prepared statement, Shadid said, “Whether certain records in a family law court case from many years ago should or should not remain sealed does not have anything to do with transparency and public participation in government. Family law court cases can and do involve matters of purely private interest between two parents and their children.
“There are times when the parties and the court determine there are certain matters in the case that involve the private lives of individuals, the well-being of the children, and do not concern the proper working of government or other matters of legitimate public interest. That determination was made many years ago in my divorce case.”
Shadid also said, “As a member of the city council and candidate for mayor, I would not support public and media disclosure of the private and confidential information of citizens or even members of the government, where such disclosure would potentially harm the privacy rights of persons, the well-being of children, and would have no bearing on the proper functioning of city government or public participation in city government.”
The Oklahoman posed seven questions to Shadid concerning his invocation of the Fifth Amendment, “potential criminal conduct” and how much he spent on marijuana. The paper printed its questions on Sunday, reporting that Shadid replied he would speak about the litigation only through his attorney.
Shadid told The City Sentinel, “This is a desperate attempt by a newspaper to trying to maintain relevance to distract us from the issues facing Oklahoma City. The reason for the distraction is that they know I have the support to win this election.”