Former Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell ignored rules of civil procedure and failed to appear for a properly noticed deposition to take his testimony regarding his use of private email accounts to conduct state business.
The case is about uncovering a scheme, revealed by public records requests, involving multiple state attorneys general offices abusing the power of their offices for political purposes.
In response to a valid notice of deposition, former AG Sorrell moved to quash his deposition and the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) cross-moved to compel his attendance. By failing to appear for the deposition, the former Attorney General ignored Vermont’s rules of civil procedure, which compelled his appearance.
Mr. Sorrell filed a Motion to Quash in a last-ditch effort to try to avoid testifying about this controversial matter, which continues to unfold in the courts. His motion, which was filed by the Office of Attorney General, is part of that office’s use of attrition warfare to stonewall its legal obligations under the Vermont Public Records Act after initial productions more than a year ago caused an uproar over the abuses they revealed.
Judge Mary Teachout, of the Vermont Superior Court in Washington County, issued an Order denying former AG Sorrell’s Motion to Quash his deposition and his Motion to Dismiss. The Court also granted E&E Legal’s Motion to Compel former Attorney General Sorrell’s testimony. The Court’s order allows “discovery [to] proceed” to develop the facts of the case.
This summer, in two separate cases involving Sorrell’s gmail account and the use of the Common Interest Agreement, a Vermont Judge ruled in E&E Legal’s favor. Today’s deposition was the next step in these matters.
“One federal judge has already suggested that these AGs sure act like they’ve got something to hide,” said E&E Legal President Craig Richardson. “Today’s ‘dodge and weave’ behavior by William Sorrell, along with his former Office’s in Vermont and Eric Schneiderman’s in the New York courts, strongly suggests there is indeed much more embarrassing and quite possibly illegal contained in the records we seek.”