Records fight with city continues

Records fight with city continues

The battle between The Examiner Newspaper and the city of Beaumont over the way the city handled the dismissal of public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges against NBA star Kendrick Perkins will continue in Judge Layne Walker’s court.

The judge heard arguments from lawyers for the newspaper, the city and Perkins on Wednesday but a ruling on what, if anything, would be turned over to the newspaper was delayed until the lawyers and the judge could review which documents are subject to an expunction order signed by Walker on April 21. A day before that order was signed the Texas attorney general ruled the records being sought by The Examiner must be turned over to the newspaper; however, none of the parties were notified of the ruling until after Walker expunged the case against Perkins.

Sean Samuel, the son of Beaumont City Councilman Audwin Samuel, is representing Perkins, a Beaumont native. The city is being represented by assistant city attorney Quentin Price. Sharae Bassett, who is the assistant city attorney who handled Perkins’ case, was also in the courtroom. Absent was city attorney Tyrone Cooper, who has been accused in court records obtained by the newspaper of trying to make the case against Perkins “go away.”

The newspaper is represented by John Werner, who asked Walker to set aside the expunction long enough to clear up the open records issue, after which time the judge could again wipe the basketball player’s criminal record clean.

After about a half hour, Walker decided to let the lawyers review the documents behind closed doors and then said he would decide which records might be turned over to the newspaper and which records would be destroyed. The judge’s jurisdiction over the case extends for 30 days from the date the expunction was signed. That deadline was 11 days away as of April 21, and Walker is expected to make his decision within that timeframe after also reviewing the documents and video records in the case.

Jerry Jordan can be reached at (409) 498-1074, or at jerry [at] theexaminer [dot] com.