Judge: Gregoire can claim ‘executive privilege’



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A judge says that Washington’s governor can claim “executive privilege” as a reason to withhold records from the public.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy said in a decision Friday that she wants to hold another hearing to determine whether Gov. Chris Gregoire properly asserted the claim in blocking the release of documents to a libertarian think tank.

The Freedom Foundation has sued Gregoire, arguing that executive privilege isn’t a legitimate exemption under state law and that the governor is using it to keep a broad range of documents secret. The governor’s office contends that executive privilege is inherent in the constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and that it is necessary to allow advisers to talk candidly.