‘Utah Politics’ podcast: One journalist’s fight to obtain public records

Cathy McKitrick fought a three-year court battle to get the report of an investigation into then-Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) When former Utah Agriculture Commissioner Kerry Gibson was a Weber County Commissioner, he was the subject of a criminal investigation. Prosecutors declined to file charges. Journalist Cathy McKitrick details her three-year court battle to obtain the final report of the investigation.

In 2017, Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson was the subject of a criminal investigation. Prosecutors ultimately declined to file charges against Gibson because they said there was not enough evidence to charge him with the crime of misusing public money.

The report on the investigation, and what prosecutors found, remained out of the public eye. Longtime local journalist Cathy McKitrick filed an open records request to make those findings public, but Gibson fought hard to keep it under wraps.

“Gibson kept claiming the release of the documents would embarrass his family and tarnish his reputation. But, as a public official, he is subject to a higher level of scrutiny,” McKitrick said.

After a three-year court battle, the Utah Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Utah’s open records laws do apply, and McKitrick won access to the documents.

She joins the podcast to discuss her fight to get the report, and why it’s important to hold public officials accountable.

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