PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Pointing a finger at the Rhode Island State Police, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Friday he considers the long-running criminal investigation into the failed 38 Studios deal closed.
Kilmartin said he told State Police Col. Ann Assumpico he believed “additional investigation should include a review of all of the remaining documents resulting from the civil litigation,” which is nearing a conclusion after the final defendant in the state’s civil suit over 38 Studios agreed to a $16-million settlement this week.
“Without the investigative resources of the State Police, however, it is fruitless to pursue these paths alone,” Kilmartin said in a statement. “Therefore, as of this date, the criminal investigation of the 38 Studios scandal is closed.”
Kilmartin, a Democrat, said Assumpico told him she would commit “no further resources” to the investigation and that “her decision was final.”
Assumpico responded to Kilmartin in her own statement later Friday, saying: “In my view, the case is closed. If presented with new evidence or leads, I will direct the state police to reopen the criminal investigation. That is exactly what I told the attorney general when we spoke yesterday.”
“There will not be, and has never has been, any cover-up of this investigation or unnecessary delay in its resolution,” she added.
38 Studios, a video-game company founded by former Red Sox star Curt Schilling, collapsed in 2012 after receiving a $75-million loan backed by Rhode Island taxpayers, triggering years of bitter political recriminations. The state was left on the hook for roughly $90 million, and then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee sued some of the deal’s architects in an effort to recover the money.
Kilmartin reiterated his concern regarding the potential related of release of investigative records regarding a investigation, in part because the statute of limitations has not closed.
“I am also very concerned that the release of information, especially the names and statements of cooperating witnesses, will chill the willingness of witnesses to come forward to law enforcement in the future, particularly in cases of public corruption,” Kilmartin said.
Assumpico noted in response that Kilmartin’s suggestion would further delay release of the documents generated during the criminal investigation, suggesting the state police will support Gov. Gina Raimondo’s looming request to make them public.
“Rhode Islanders are rightly angry over 38 Studios and I share the view with many people in the state that the public has the right to know what happened,” the colonel said.
Raimondo said she respects Kilmartin’s position regarding concerns over a potential chilling effect on getting people to testify before a secret grand jury if the proceedings are later made public, but the public’s right to know what happened in the 38 Studios case outweighs those issues.
“I just want full complete transparency on this so we can put it behind us,” Raimondo said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. “People want to know what’s in those documents, what did you learn, what mistakes were made, so lets let it out there.”
Tim White and Ted Nesi contributed to this report.