OKC council member should end fight over divorce records

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 11, 2013

IF Ed Shadid's public persona was confined to his being Dr. Shadid, trying to keep why he took the Fifth Amendment and his divorce records sealed might be understandable. But he's also Oklahoma City Councilman Shadid. And he wants to be Mayor Shadid.

And if Ed Shadid didn't tout transparency in his campaign literature, the inconsistency of his secrecy stance wouldn't be so apparent.

Shadid is fighting The Oklahoman's attempts to have the divorce records unsealed, including why he took the Fifth, and claiming that the newspaper is making a mockery of the judicial system. With circular reasoning, he is stonewalling on the Fifth Amendment question.

In recent weeks, Shadid has been candid about his recovery from a self-confessed addiction to marijuana. If this is the crux of the stuff Shadid wants to keep secret, the issue is moot. If he took the Fifth because of prior marijuana use, there's no need to maintain it: he's openly admitted his drug usage. If he took the Fifth for some reason involving other criminal activity, voters need to know what that reason is. Asking for the public to trust him isn't enough.

The mockery claim is easily debunked. The newspaper sent a letter to the judge who handled the contentious divorce case in 2006-2007. We requested that the record be unsealed because Shadid is running for mayor. The judge said she would likely unseal the records because of Shadid's candidacy, but not before hearing both sides. A scheduled hearing never took place, because Shadid tried to get the Oklahoma Supreme Court to order that his records could remain sealed. The court has declined to do so.

Most divorce cases are open to the public rather than being sealed from public view. Mayor Mick Cornett, who is seeking another term (the election is March 4), also went through a divorce in recent years. He did not attempt to keep its details secret.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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