Raimondo will ask court to release 38 Studios grand jury docs


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday she will ask a judge to release the documents collected during the grand jury investigation into 38 Studios once the state’s civil lawsuit over the failed video-game deal is finished.

Raimondo made the announcement at the annual meeting of Common Cause Rhode Island, where she was interviewed on stage by WPRI 12’s Tim White about ethics in government, politics and other issues.

Raimondo emphasized, however, that she will not seek release of the documents until the state is done with its long-running civil lawsuit against the architects of the deal, which left Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for roughly $90 million when the state-backed company founded by Curt Schilling went bankrupt.

“I will, at the end of the civil trial, go ask the court for permission to release the information that comes out because of the grand jury,” Raimondo said. “I am firmly on the side that we should release everything,” she added.

Thirteen of the 14 defendants in that civil suit have settled, but one – former state financial adviser First Southwest – is still actively fighting the state. The Providence Journal reported Thursday that settlement talks with First Southwest have broken down and the two sides may try to go to trial in January.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced over the summer that no charges would be brought following the four-year criminal probe into 38 Studios. Kilmartin, a second-term Democrat, has faced harsh criticism since then for refusing to seek release of the material collected by the grand jury in the case.

Raimondo said she will petition the court to do so even if Kilmartin continues to resist the move.

Raimondo, who opposed the 38 Studios deal as a candidate for treasurer in 2010, noted that last year her administration successfully petitioned to unseal thousands of pages of related documents collected as part of the civil suit. However, she’s also faced criticism for reneging on a 2014 campaign promise to launch an independent probe into 38 Studios.

Separately, Raimondo reiterated at the event that she will not accept a position in Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s administration if she’s offered one, and that she plans to seek re-election in 2018.

Before Raimondo and White took the stage, Common Cause presented its Excellence in Public Service Award to longtime Providence Journal staff writer Ed Fitzpatrick, who championed open government when he was the paper’s political columnist. Fitzpatrick recently left The Journal to accept a position at Roger Williams University.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes The Saturday Morning Post and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram