Sonya Heitshusen doesn’t want the public to know anything more about how or why she shot a bullet through her sliding glass window, according to a court filing made late last week.
Heitshusen, a former reporter turned Public Information Officer, asked a Dallas County court to close her preliminary hearing to the press and the public, saying that her status as a public figure means that the public should be kept in the dark.
According to Heitshusen’s lawyer, the press should be barred from the courtroom because “evidence offered at the preliminary hearing may be sensitive” and therefore might prejudice her. It sounds like her lawyer is afraid that if the public hears the evidence against her that her excuse for her conduct, “the gun went off by itself” will fall apart.
Heitshusen was a reporter with WHO-13 for several years, even reporting about the Polk County Attorney’s Office’s attempt to keep court records secret. But now that Heitshusen, a Democrat running for Iowa House, has a campaign to run, she thinks this whole “public access” thing is overrated.
The judge solved Heitshusen’s problem by just canceling the hearing, so we’ll just have to wait until trial to see what Heitshusen thinks is so damning. (Or maybe she’ll plead out before then.) But the fact that Heitshusen even asked the judge to keep the press out is amazing.
But it’s also not surprising. In addition to running for Iowa House, Heitshusen currently serves as Auditor Rob Sand’s Public Information Officer. In that role, she refused to answer this reporter’s questions because I don’t have a journalism degree. And under her watch, Sand’s office has refused to turn over emails with blogger Laura Belin, saying that Belin was somehow involved in an audit.
Reminder: @LauraRBelin is suing the Governor for responding too slowly to open records requests. But Laura wants @RobSandIA to keep her emails secret.
Question for journalists: do you think your communications with public officials should be shielded from the public view?
— Iowa Field Report.com (@IAFieldReport) July 15, 2022
It seems Democrats are good at pretending to care about transparency, until they’re being ask to be transparent.
Amen! Really looking forward to reading your emails that @RobSandIA has refused to turn over – We believe they could be vital to understanding how our government bodies function out of public view. #FOIA https://t.co/N8Ofdck5JN
— Iowa Field Report.com (@IAFieldReport) July 18, 2022
Stay tuned for more coverage of Heitshusen’s case. Who knows, maybe we’ll find out how a Glock with a safety trigger accidentally fires when it’s set down. Maybe…
FURTHER READING: Rob Sand fights to keep secret emails with liberal blogger