Statement on 38 Studios Court Ruling

The following is a statement by Access/RI on the recent decision to keep secret grand jury testimony about the 38 Studios case. The New England First Amendment Coalition is a member organization of Access/RI, which is a non-profit freedom of information coalition dedicated to improving citizen access to the records and processes of government in Rhode Island.

While ACCESS/RI understands the need to protect the secrecy of the grand jury, we are disappointed and concerned that Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney of the Superior Court chose to continue to keep secret the records of the grand jury proceedings in the 38 Studios case.

We agree with Governor Gina Raimondo that the records and testimony are of paramount interest and should be opened for scrutiny so that the public can understand the state’s investigation of the $75-million publicly financed bond used to lure Red Sox great Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios video-game company to Rhode Island.

The grand jury records relating to one of the biggest and most publicized taxpayer-subsidized corporate failures in the state should be open for public scrutiny. Their disclosure far outweighs the need to protect the members of the grand jury, the witnesses, and others involved in the proceedings.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC for this year include the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, Lois Howe McClure, The Boston Globe and Boston University. Celebration Supporters include The Hartford Courant and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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