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Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid still fighting to keep past secret

Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Ed Shadid invoked the Fifth Amendment in divorce. He won't say why.
by Nolan Clay and Robby Trammell Modified: December 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: December 8, 2013

© Copyright 2013, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Ed Shadid sought to keep possible criminal wrongdoing from coming out in his divorce by invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, The Oklahoman has learned.

He's not saying why.

Shadid invoked the constitutional privilege in 2006 after hiring Josh Welch, at the time a prominent criminal defense attorney.

After granting a divorce in 2007, a judge sealed from public view Shadid's reasons for invoking the Fifth Amendment as well as dozens of other records. The judge sealed the records at Shadid's and his ex-wife's request.

The divorce decree itself remained open.

Shadid now is fighting at the Oklahoma Supreme Court to keep the sealed records secret. He went to the Supreme Court after his divorce judge indicated she likely would unseal the records since he is a mayoral candidate.

Three Oklahoma County judges who have handled divorce cases told The Oklahoman it is extremely rare for someone in a divorce proceeding to invoke the Fifth Amendment. It is most commonly seen in criminal cases and is often referred to as “taking the Fifth.”

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

Shadid is running against Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who also is divorced. All the records in Cornett's 2010 divorce case are open to the public, records show.

Most divorce cases in Oklahoma are open to the public.

“Our whole system is based on the public's right to know. They are the public's records. It's the exception when court records are ordered sealed,” Oklahoma County Court Clerk Tim Rhodes said Friday.

Shadid is opposing the release of his divorce records at the same time he is promising voters in a campaign letter that he will stand strong for “absolute transparency and accountability in government” if elected mayor next year.

The election is March 4.

Shadid, 45, is a spinal surgeon and a Ward 2 city councilman. He kicked off his campaign for mayor with a rally in August. The Oklahoman in September asked his divorce judge to make public the sealed documents.

“We are seeking to open this record to determine why a mayoral candidate invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege to protect himself from self-incrimination and is fighting disclosure all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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by Robby Trammell
Assistant Managing Editor
Robby Trammell is news director for The Oklahoman and During his 41-year career, he has received numerous reporting awards and civic honors. With The Oklahoman’s investigative team, he won a first-place spot news reporting award for...
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