Appeals court examines Corzine e-mail privacy

A state appeals court is determining whether e-mails between Gov. Jon Corzine and his union leader ex-girlfriend will remain private.

Three judges listened to arguments concerning the e-mails Thursday morning.

State Republican leader Tom Wilson had previously sued for access to 750 pages of e-mails between Carla Katz and Corzine since they include negotiations over a state worker contract from 2007. In May, a lower court ruled the public has a right to view the e-mails.

Corzine is appealing that ruling. Wilson maintains the citizens of New Jersey have a right to view the correspondence.

"If [the governor] wants people to have confidence in government, then he ought to live by his own words, which [call for] following the rules of transparency,? says Wilson.

Attorney General Anne Milgram and Paul Fishman, Katz?s attorney, argue the correspondence should remain private.

?The only facts we have here are the ethics panel, a bipartisan panel - a former attorney general and a former Supreme Court justice - reviewed the e-mails, conducted an investigation on the conflict issue and found that the governor did not have a conflict of interest and did not have an appearance of a conflict of interest,? says Milgram.

"For Carla, this is simply a matter of principle,? says Fishman. ?She believes when e-mails are exchanged during the course of collective bargaining, under OPRA (Open Public Records Act), they should be protected. So for her it's not about the e-mails themselves, she's not afraid of the e-mails, it's just a matter of principle."

A decision is expected to be made in a couple of weeks.

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