The New Orleans Saints and the Archdiocese of New Orleans are opposing a court motion that would allow several local media outlets to attend a hearing next week set to resolve the status of public access to communications between the team and church surrounding a clergy sexual abuse case.
According to Ramon Antonio Vargas of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the two entities are trying to keep the newspaper and three local television stations from attending the hearing on February 20. Attorneys representing a plaintiff that is suing the church over alleged sexual abuse from former deacon George Brignac have sought the release of email communications between the team and church over the public relations strategy for the church in the wake of the scandal.
Lawyers representing the Saints and the Archdiocese each argued against opening the hearing to media.
“Trials are public; discovery is not,” attorneys James Gulotta and Andrew Mendez argued in a filing on the Saints’ behalf.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers have said there are 276 emails showing members of the Saints organization were advising the church on how to handle their public messaging of the scandal. The team, including owner Gayle Benson, have vehemently denied any wrongdoing saying their advice to the church was to be as open and transparent as possible. However, it’s a stance the plaintiffs’ attorneys reject saying the emails in question show otherwise.