A Rhode Island Superior Court judge denied a petition by Gov. Gina Raimondo to release grand jury documents in the 38 Studios case.
In doing so, Justice Alice Gibney on Thursday sided with state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, who opposed the petition.
“Releasing documents based on mere public interest in grand jury proceedings would entirely defeat the purpose, and role, of the grand jury,” said Gibney.
Raimondo filed her petition in February after the conclusion of Rhode Island’s civil lawsuit over 38 Studios, the video-game company started by former baseball pitcher Curt Schilling that went bankrupt in 2012 after it received a $75 million loan backed by the state’s moral obligation.
The governor had argued that “extraordinary public interest" warranted disclosure.
“The judge was absolutely correct. The secrecy of the grand jury is something that should never be set aside, absent extraordinary circumstances,” said Anthony Sabino, a Mineola, N.Y., white-collar defense attorney and St. John’s University professor.
“One, horrible things can and will be said in the confines of a grand jury room. That will never rise to actually proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Second, if you reveal these grand jury deliberations, subsequent grand juries and those that appear before them will be fearful of public disclosure,” said Sabino.
“And that will cripple the grand jury process.”