A judge Friday made public divorce records that show Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Ed Shadid had a long history of illegal drug use.
The Oklahoman sought the records after the Ward 2 city councilman announced in August he is running for mayor.
“This is not just a victory for The Oklahoman. ... It is a victory for the public,” the newspaper's attorney, Robert Nelon, said. “That's why The Oklahoman filed the motion it did because these are public records and the public is entitled to know what is in them ... especially because Dr. Shadid is both a public official as a sitting councilman and an announced candidate for the office of mayor”
During a five-minute hearing, Oklahoma County Special Judge Lisa Hammond vacated her 2007 order that sealed from the public most of the records.
She said the Oklahoma Supreme Court “has made it very clear that there are very few circumstances in which sealing is appropriate.”
Shadid and his ex-wife, Dina Hammam, initially had opposed opening the records but they and their attorneys did not show up for the hearing Friday. The parents had argued information in the divorce file will harm their three children.
Shadid, a spinal surgeon, has acknowledged he was addicted to marijuana and has said he has been in recovery for many years.
At a news conference Thursday during a campaign Christmas party, he said, “I'm asking the people of Oklahoma City for your forgiveness as I've asked God for the same.”
He also said Thursday the judge apparently had made up her mind already to open the file.
Friday, the judge said, “Contrary to what Mr. Shadid said in his press conference last evening, this court did not have an opinion in total until reading everything and awaiting arguments on specific issues.”
The judge said she did have some concern whether one specific document should remain sealed in the “interest of justice” but she opened it because Shadid did not appear.
“Based on the fact that no objection has been filed, no appearance is made today, it appears that Mr. Shadid does not believe that any of the records contained rise to that level,” she said.
The divorce file is approximately two feet thick and was kept in a box at the court clerk's office.
“The records are voluminous and our reporters are reviewing them. We will have a full report in our Sunday edition” said Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group.
“Also, there are too many pages in the file to put the records online in their entirety so we are choosing not to post any related documents at this time. Judge Hammond's decision makes the file open at the courthouse to all interested citizens,” she said.
The election is March 4.