David Rossmiller broke this story on his blog. Thanks to Bellesouth for the pdf of the order and heads up.
I have read the order for dismissal and await a lawyer’s analysis but to me it boils down to what was very apparent from reading Judge Acker’s original order; the law enforcement exception contained therein is absolute and was met as demonstrated by the facts of the case. Also Judge Vinson found Judge Acker’s order was poorly written:
There is some ambiguity in the wording of the order because if the first paragraph was complied with (and the documents were given to counsel for Renfroe), then as Judge Acker himself acknowledged at the March 2007 contempt hearing [see Doc. 130 at 187-88], the second paragraph would be superfluous (i.e., the Rigsbys could not further disclose, use or is appropriate materials no longer in their possession). The special prosecutors attempt to resolve this ambiguity by arguing that the second paragraph meant only that the Rigsbys “could cooperate with law enforcement by discussing with law enforcement what they knew about the documents.” See Doc. 11 at 5. This contention overlooks the nature of the object of the injunction. The second paragraph by its own terms applied to “any material described” in the first paragraph, which plainly consisted of the tangible documents themselves. Any attempt to limit the second paragraph to “mental impressions” or “recollections” must fail…..
And finally the heart of the matter:
However, the fact remains that Scruggs did not violate the clear and express terms of the injunction. Again, as then-Judge (now Justice) Stephen Breyer has observed, courts must read injunctions “to mean rather precisely what they say.”The injunction specifically and precisely said the documents could be given “to law enforcement officials at their request.” Regardless of the subjective intent that Hood may have had when he requested the documents, the undisputed fact is that he did make such a request. The objective language of the injunction expressly authorized the law enforcement exception, and it must be recognized here. Criminal contempt under such circumstances cannot be supported under the law.
While Judge Vinson did cast a wary eye on the arrangement between Mr Scruggs and Mr Hood the bottom line was that issue was ancillary to the points of law. I wonder if Marsha Thompson at WLBT will now rehash the Rigsby sister’s sex lives in an attempt to save face.
This issue has been resolved and not the way the self proclaimed cyber experts predicted. At the risk of appearing snotty such things happen to the closed and weak minds.
Our best wishes and regards go out to the Rigsby sisters for their strength in the face of this assault on their characters and reputations.