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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN JUNE 27, 2004 20:34:08 ET XXXXX
CHASE ON FOR SEALED KERRY DIVORCE DOCUMENTS; PAPER FRENZY AFTER ILLINOIS SENATE RACE RELEASE
After last week's front page headlines over ugly unsealed divorce records in the Republican Illinois senate race, media outlets now face a dilemma: What to do about Democrat presidential hopeful John Kerry's sealed divorce records!
The race is on in political and media circles to gauge the import of Kerry's sealed July 25, 1988 divorce from his first wife, Julia Stimson Thorne.
TRIBUNE, which successfully sued a court to gain access to Illinois Republican Jack Ryan's divorce papers and child custody records [over the objection of both Ryan and his former wife], is considering a similar push on Kerry, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
[TRIBUNE owns WLVI-TV Channel 56 in Boston. It could use its Massachusetts connection as a jumping point to petition the court which granted Kerry a divorce, sources explain.]
Other news outlets may soon follow.
CAMPAIGN CALLS DIVORCE DIGGING 'GUTTER BALL'
The Kerry campaign late Sunday called any old divorce digging a game of political "gutter ball."
"This is a trash hunt," said a senior Kerry source, who asked not to be named.
"No, I do not have a clue what is in the papers," explained the source. "But it is none of my business. And its none of your business, or any one's business... You're playing a game of gutter ball, Drudge."
"I would argue, adamantly, the records should remain sealed. And out of the hands of John's political enemies."
JUDGE: PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW
The Los Angeles judge which ordered the release of Ryan's sealed divorce ruled that the public interest in having access to the case records outweighed the Ryans' interest in protecting their child from the publicity that would follow the documents' release.
Ryan and his former wife released a statement saying they were "disturbed and angered" by last week's ruling by Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider, who was named a full judge by California Democrat Gov. Gray Davis.
"They were aware they were in a public court system and protection from embarrassment cannot be a basis for keeping from the public what's put in public courts," said Schnider, referring to Ryan and his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan. "The openness of court files must be maintained, so that the public ... can be assured that there is no favoritism shown to the rich and powerful."
In 1991, a court also sealed a complaint amending the Kerry-Thorne divorce, concerning economic and child visitation issues, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
In her 1996 book, "Change of Heart," Thorne said that playing the role of wife to the rising political star had made her so depressed she wanted to kill herself.
Thorne said she still associates politics "only with anger, fear, and loneliness."
She wrote "A Change Of Heart" to help other unhappily married couples; in the book, she called her relationship with Kerry a "suffocating marriage."
Filed By Matt Drudge
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