Raimondo asks judge to release docs from 38 Studios grand jury

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Gina Raimondo on Monday formally filed a court petition seeking release of documents presented before a grand jury during the criminal investigation into the failed 38 Studios deal.

Raimondo had pledged to seek the material’s release after the conclusion of the state’s civil lawsuit over 38 Studios, which ended Friday when a judge approved a settlement with the last remaining defendant. The company, founded by Curt Schilling, collapsed in 2012 after receiving a taxpayer-backed loan of $75 million.

The three-page petition notes the “extraordinary public interest” in the 38 Studios deal, and asks R.I. Superior Court Presiding Justice Alice Gibney to order the release of “all grand jury records, wherever located,” from the case. It also notes that 146 people were interviewed in connection with the investigation.

“Since the 38 Studios deal was first made public, there has been profound and sustained public interest in its underlying circumstances and consequences,” the petition states.

The petition reiterates that the state police are reviewing all the non-grand-jury investigative documents generated during the criminal probe and will release those that can be disclosed under the state’s Access to Public Records Act.

The four-year criminal probe into 38 Studios, which included 18 months before a grand jury, appeared to come to an end last summer, when Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and then-R.I. State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell announced that there was no basis to file charges.

Kilmartin quickly came under pressure to release documents generated during the case due to the high public interest in the failed deal, but he has resisted those entreaties, citing the importance of maintaining grand-jury secrecy.

Earlier this month Kilmartin lashed out at O’Donnell’s successor, Ann Assumpico, for refusing to reactivate the case; she said he had provided insufficient evidence to devote more resources to it. He designated the investigation as closed in the wake of her decision.

During an appearance Friday on WPRI 12’s Newsmakers, Kilmartin indicated he expects his office will go to court in an attempt to block Raimondo’s petition and keep the 38 Studios criminal documents under wrap.

On Monday, Kilmartin spokesman Amy Kempe reiterated, “The attorney general remains opposed to the release of grand jury materials.  We will review the petition and respond as appropriate to the court.”

The governor isn’t the only official making a move to get the documents in question released. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill sponsored by Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston, that would make public “any investigative records generated or obtained” during the 38 Studios probe, with some exceptions.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram