Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt withdraws First Amendment motion

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. –  Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has withdrawn a legal brief he filed arguing that the First Amendment allowed him to withhold some public records concerning private citizens involved in a lawsuit.

Schmitt said in a statement Tuesday that his office determined after further review that the assertion should be withdrawn.

The attorney general filed the brief last week in a defamation lawsuit against Republican state Rep. Holly Rehder filed by former Scott City Mayor Ron Cummins. Schmitt, who is defending Rehder, argued giving information to Cummins’ attorney about constituents who had called Rehder’s office violated those citizens’ First Amendment rights.

Schmitt said in Tuesday’s statement that in limited instances, personal information can be withheld in lawsuits. But he said the assertion should not have been raised in the Cummins lawsuit.

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