The New York Civil Liberties Union has jumped into the center of a controversy that conservative Fox News firebrand Bill O’Reilly allegedly pressured the Nassau County Police Department to investigate whether his wife, Maureen McPhilmy, was having an affair with one of its detectives.
Yesterday, the NYCLU filed a suit against the NCPD for what they say is unlawful censorship of public records.
The NYCLU filed the suit on behalf of Gawker reporter John Cook, who requested, among other things, the record for an internal investigation into the detective, as well as records of all call logs and correspondence between O’Reilly and former NCPD Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey.
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The NCPD refused Cook’s Freedom of Information Law request to review police files, saying the documents were “personnel records” and therefore exempt from public scrutiny.
But the NYCLU is not buying it. “This type of secrecy is unacceptable,” said NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Corey Stoughton. “The public has a right to know how government agencies use taxpayer dollars.”
The NYCLU will take their case to court tomorrow and ask that the records be released.
“The public has every right to know how the NCPD spends scarce law enforcement resources,” said Samantha Fredrickson, director of the NYCLU’s Nassau County chapter.
Police deny connection
Former NCPD Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, who retired on April 1 of last year, told Gawker that O’Reilly never asked him for a personal favor.
“I was never contacted by Bill O’Reilly or anyone associated with him and asked to launch an investigation,” Mulvey told the website.
A spokeswoman for O’Reilly refused to comment on the matter when asked by Metro.
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.