Democrats Want to See Austin Scott’s Divorce Records

Democrats in Macon are demanding to see Austin Scott’s divorce records. Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report has the story:

A motion has been filed that seeks to unseal court records of the divorce proceedings of state Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton), who’s running against Democratic incumbent Jim Marshall for the 8th Congressional District seat.

Tift County Superior Court Judge Melanie Cross signed an order setting an Oct. 26 hearing on the motion to unseal the divorce files involving Scott and his former wife, Annette Leigh Scott.

The hearing, which will be held before Superior Court Judge Bill Reinhardt, is scheduled to occur one week before the Nov. 2 general election. Scott’s campaign did not comment Friday on the pending court hearing.

The motion was filed Thursday by Macon attorney Carmel Sanders on behalf of Amy Morton, a Democratic Party activist and blogger who also resides in Macon. The language of the motion is similar to a legal filing made by attorney Gerald R. Weber two years ago when former House Speaker Glenn Richardson had his divorce records sealed in Paulding County.

Floyd County Superior Court Chief Judge Walter Matthews subsequently filed an order in July 2008 that unsealed most of the records in Richardson’s divorce case.

Scott’s divorce records were sealed on July 9, 2004, according to the motion that seeks to have them unsealed.

“The Order gave no justification for the sealing of the file,” Sanders said in her motion. “No balancing of the public and private interests was made.”

“The parties consent to closure or sealing cannot override the public’s right to review proceedings and documents,” Sanders argued in her filing.

Scott, a Tifton business owner and a member of the Georgia House for 14 years, is leaving the Legislature to run against Marshall, a four-term congressman from Macon.

H/T: Jim Galloway

53 comments

    • Yet the top of their ticket had coddled the most notorious pedophile in U.S. history. Perhaps the good therapist might want to talk to King Roy about this….

      Does this mean democrats tolerate pedophiles or just pedophiles with large followings?

  1. polisavvy says:

    Well, if you can’t run on the issues, then resort to dirty political tactics. I wonder if Marshall realizes that Austin has a ten year old son? He might be a war hero; however, this appears more like a coward.

    • polisavvy says:

      Yes, and he’s ten years old, too. This is such a dirty thing for Marshall, through a “Democrat party activist and blogger,” to do. He loses so much credibility with this one. I don’t know why he didn’t just run on the issues — oh, wait, the Democrats don’t want to do that.

  2. TPNoGa says:

    I guess we know that Marshall is nervous. What a slime bucket.

    Jim Marshall – nothing is too low for him to slither under.

  3. Mullet says:

    I heard some rumors when Austin was still running for Governor, concerning the divorce. I’m a Scott supporter, but it looks as though the Dem.’s have finally heard them too. If there is any truth to them (Which I sincerely hope not, and doubt) this could turn extremely ugly, extremely fast.

    • TPNoGa says:

      The hearing isn’t until late October. With appeals, it should be after the election before anything is made public.

      • polisavvy says:

        Exactly. Further, if I were Austin Scott, I’d be sure my attorney took a look at the actual seal to be sure that it had not already been breached.

    • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

      “…but it looks as though the Dem.’s have finally heard them too.”

      The rumors have been around the Capitol for nearly 10 years. The reason no one has really cared until this year is because, until recently, he’s been fairly irrelevant.

      • polisavvy says:

        Talk’s cheap, Loyalty, and so are rumors. Just because garbage was passed around the Capitol does not mean that whatever the rumors were are actually true. Rumors are defined as “an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern.” The the key part of the definition is “issue in public concern.” What is contained in Austin Scott’s and his ex-wife’s divorce papers are NOT an “issue in public concern.” In other words, it’s between the two of them PERIOD. Austin Scott and his ex-wife owe us absolutely nothing — no explanation, no verification, no copy of their private matters. It’s not our business. Further, rumors involve some kind of a statement whose veracity is not quickly or ever confirmed. In other words, talk is very cheap.

        What is most troubling about this whole thing is how Judge Cross and her husband play into this. A Judge should never use the bench for political gain by any third party. That’s exactly what she is doing. With she and her husband both being donors to Marshall’s campaign in the past, she has opened herself for well-deserved criticism. People have been removed from the bench for lesser things. Rather or not Marshall was aware of this request prior to the actual request being made public still casts doubt on his character and honor, in my opinion. No candidate should advance their political career without considering the well-being of a minor child PERIOD.

        • inlimine says:

          She signed a Rule Nisi for a motion hearing request; she hasn’t done anything unethical or improper. Judge Reinhardt will be hearing the motion and making the ruling. Slow down a second with the JQC proceedings…

              • polisavvy says:

                Huh? Her running and winning has what to do with this? That was then, this is now. Things do have a tendency to change over time. Like I said, let’s just sit back and see what happens.

                • inlimine says:

                  Being a judge opens her up for scrutiny and criticism, period. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with smearing and lies about her on this issue. See the new topic posted by Jason for further details…

                  • polisavvy says:

                    I saw that. I’m not smearing her or telling lies, though, I’m just pointing out the obvious. She did sign off on the request and she IS a contributor to Marshall. She should have expected this type of reaction from people. A judge does open themselves up to scrutiny and criticism; however, they should always try to avoid an occasion where there is even a hint of impropriety, don’t you think? On its face it looks bad, in my opinion.

  4. Fawkes says:

    Marshall must be getting desperate. He’s following Cagle’s advice and going after Austin on a non-issue. We can thank our p.o.s. Lieutenant Governor for contributing to this mudfest. Cagle has had it out for Austin ever since it was rumored that Austin would challenge him for the LG seat.

    Careful Jim, when you roll around in the mud with pigs, you’re going to get dirty too. I hope this comes back to bite Jimbo.

    • polisavvy says:

      Would I be surprised if Cagle was behind this in any way, shape, form, or fashion? In a word, no; in two words, h#ll no. He’s definitely not a fan of Austin Scott’s. Cagle’s not out of the woods yet — remember, the October surprise that has been talked about for months (actually I first heard about it in March of ’08). I guess we’ll just have to sit back and see if the AJC really does have something on Cagle or not.

      • AlanR says:

        I don’t know about an October surprise, but I do know that no one had more to do with allowing subprime mortgage operators to prey on people than Cagle. I’m amazed this hasn’t come up.

        And this is an issue of merit that effects everyone, not gossip or stuff out his private life.

        The tragedy with Scott is that the seal is likely there to keep the records from becoming public until his son is older. This is quite common and it makes good sense for parents to protect their child until mature enough to understand. Marshall needs to be held accounable. Has Marshall said anything yet — like don’t unseal the records its the wrong thing?

        • Has Marshall said anything yet — like don’t unseal the records its the wrong thing?

          Nope. Apparently Marshall doesn’t “have a moral problem” with being a slimy, ambulatory collection of fecal material.

          Marshall will do and say anything to win this election.

          • polisavvy says:

            As I’ve said before desperate times call for desperate measures, and Marshall is a desperate man (and I use the term quite loosely). No one can take anything away from him as far as his military service is concerned and we should always remember that; however, this is not a very honorable action.

    • polisavvy says:

      As an aside, didn’t ‘fishtail’ or ‘Loyalty’ elude to this about two weeks ago or so? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Would I be surprised? Nope, not at all.

    • polisavvy says:

      Absolutely no class! Though I didn’t vote for Marshall, I had always respected Jim Marshall for his service to his country, both in the Army and in Congress. You have to respect a man who was so willing to serve. Now, not so much. This is such a low, dirty, cowardly thing to do. I never expected a man of honor to stoop so low!

        • Dave Bearse says:

          But it’s politics!

          I trust you to have the integrity to similarly object if it was a Dem. Others not so much.

          I beg to differ however with you calling Marshall a coward for not injecting himself in the matter.

          • polisavvy says:

            I don’t care for dirty politics regardless of the party — Republicans or Democrats. Just run on the damn issues. That’s what we care about. If Austin Scott and his ex-wife are trying to protect their child, then why is that our business. It’s not uncommon for people to have their divorces sealed when there are minor child/children involved.

  5. inlimine says:

    Why is it such a secret? What makes Austin Scott’s divorce case more special than Joe Blow’s? I’ve never understood the “sealing” of a divorce case. No confidential informants, no national security issues. I’ve often found it only happens with politicians or well-to-do types that are well connected to judges who don’t want their finances known by the public.

    What’s the case with Austin Scott’s divorce case? Why the seal?

        • Doug Grammer says:

          In general, a child may not need to know that he was adopted, that his dad isn’t who he thinks it is, that either or both of his parents had an affair and he (or she) isn’t from the stable home that they think he (or she) was from. There might be drug issues or abuse. I’m sure there are other reasons, but I can’t think of them right now.

          A public record is a public record. If it’s sealed, is someone’s desire to know a greater importance than keeping quiet the details of why a marriage dissolved when all parties, including a judge, agreed to sealing it?

          • inlimine says:

            That remains to be seen. I doubt a judge in that circuit is gonna unseal the case though. But it raises an interesting question.

            • AlanR says:

              It is exactly because there are no state secrets, public money or anything beyond a divorce between a husband and wife that it should stay sealed. This is a personal matter — now over 6 years old — that doesn’t involve Scott’s public service.

              It is your responsibility to show a valid reason relavant to this election to unseal the record and violate the privacy of Scott, his former wife, and young son.

              You can’t just say Hey this may help our candidate, let’s open it up and see what’s in it? Obama gets to do that, but it shouldn’t happen here.

              • Lady Thinker says:

                I agree with your post. Some people have a morbid curiosity about the intimate details of anyone considered to have a better life than them. I think the purpose of having Scott’s divorce records released is to start the gossip mills rolling. By throwing slime on the country boy clean image who does not play well with others in a political climate where what you see isn’t always what you get, Marshall can take Scott’s moral and ethical image and muddy it up a bit. I think it is a travesty and hope that Scott and cast off the innuendoes and keep his divorce record sealed.

  6. Rick Day says:

    Somebody’s got a kinky closet they are trying to hide! There are secrets to be found in those doc’s, and they should stay that way.

    Stupid Lee Atwater, and his slime-that-sticks-to-all-things-political.

    • B Balz says:

      Well fine! A positive revelation that average citizens, on both sides of the pol speculum, agree this is plain ol’ NASTINESS.

      Cong. Marshall would probably make points by smacking his palm down on a table and saying, “That’s enuff, already.”

      GO PANTHERS!

  7. slyram says:

    I have never seen two political parties function with such dysfunction in my life. If Macon Democrats are doing this mess, what does that have to do with Marshall who is so very far from the Democrat Party? If they put that energy and time into hustling on the streets and phone banks like the other side, things would look better.

    The frustration on the Dem side centers on helping turn out the base for someone who must distances himself from said base. The enthusiasm gap between the left and right is unbelievable—some better start scary moderates and Democrats because the crew coming to DC this time makes the 1994 revolutionaries look like boy scouts.

    As a person who generally likes everyone, I hate to see this season turn ugly. Judge Cross came by our house with her campaign team during her bid; good old fashion asking for support.

    That’s how you do it. I can’t believe we have a month to go and six campaign ads are on the box during each commercial break. Judge Cross’ opponent had the hot dog van at a park on the next block. Again, meeting people and connecting is better than a zillion dollars in ad and ugliness.

    Finally, is anyone else thinking that Handel would coasting at this point. Does the GOP every think like the other guys or better gals. Heaven only knows but I think she would have gotten 20% of Dem women vote.

  8. inlimine says:

    Before people start beating up Judge Cross, note that she only set the matter for hearing by another Judge (Reinhardt); she isn’t hearing the case and isn’t making a ruling.

    • Yes. How interesting that she set the date one week before the election. Austin must now choose between how to spend his time. Does he devote his personal time to protecting the privacy of his family or beating Jim “Nancy Boy” Marshall?

      And, of course, Judge Cross’s hubbie, Ray, donated $1000 to Marshall earlier this year. I wonder if that was from his personal or their joint checking account.

      If Judge Cross were smart she would have recused herself from the matter. Her actions are indefensible because she has brought into question – for good reason – the impartiality of the courts.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      She shouldn’t have set the hearing. She should have said “I have given money to one of the parties and so has my husband. I can’t have anything to do with this case.” By setting it one week before an election, it’s aimed to take Rep. Scott’s eye off the prize. Another judge might not have set it at all.

      • polisavvy says:

        Exactly right, Doug. She had to have known that people would find out about the donations she and her husband had given to the Marshall campaign. The impropriety is there and she created it. The timing is purely political — we all know that. Why else would it be a week before the election? I spoke with a friend of mine who is a judge here and he said that it should NEVER have happened. She should have NEVER interjected herself in this. He further said that he won’t open divorce papers that are sealed where a minor child is concerned unless it is critical to do so. He said he’d NEVER, under any circumstance, unseal a sealed document for political gain of a third party that’s requested by an activist blogger.

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