State Auditor Stacey Pickering says his hands are tied by a federal subpoena that prevents his releasing documents seized from state Department of Marine Resources to a Gulf Coast newspaper.
The Sun Herald has asked a judge to hold Pickering and his office in civil contempt of court for failing to turn over records it has sought. .
The newspaper sued Pickering for access to records that his office had seized from the MDMR as part of an ongoing state and federal investigation of the agency. Harrison County Chancery Judge Jennifer Schloegel ruled last month that the records are public, but she didn’t immediately act on the newspaper’s request for a contempt order.
In a response filed Wednesday to the newspaper’s contempt motion, Pickering’s lawyers said the auditor’s office has to abide by the federal grand jury subpoena.