published Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Knox County judge won't release files on disgraced jurist

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    Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood denies the News Sentinel's request to unseal records involving former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner Tuesday in Knox County Criminal Court. Blackwood said there are "innocent people" who would be hurt by the disclosure of the entirety of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigative file, which he said contains unsupported allegations unrelated to Baumgartner's confessed misconduct. (J. MILES CARY/NEWS SENTINEL )

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A judge has denied a request by the Knoxville News Sentinel to unseal records involving former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner, who resigned after he was accused of illegally buying painkillers.

The records are part of requests for a new trial by four people convicted in the 2007 torture slayings of 21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom.

At a hearing on Tuesday, News Sentinel attorney Richard Hollow argued that disclosure of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation file would harm no one but Baumgartner, who has pleaded guilty to official misconduct.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood said the disclosure could harm innocent people. However, he promised to make public whatever information he relies on in determining the requests for a new trial at a Dec. 1 hearing.

More at The Knoxville News Sentinel.

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