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— Howatt says he cannot comment.

Says Aguirre, "It's clear there were illegal activities. I am now reviewing the actions of the Copley executives who were involved, and the others, to determine the appropriate legal action to be taken." He adds, "The privacy rights of every San Diegan are implicated by these types of practices. The episode raises serious questions about the moral leadership of the newspaper and may provide explanations for why it has been so insensitive to the corruption problems of the city."

After he learned that he had missed the hearing, Aguirre made calls to two court clerks, including Howatt's. Their stories did not add up, he complains. The judge says Aguirre was rude to his clerk and must apologize. "I am not apologizing," he says. "People in my office listened to everything I said," and agreed that his remarks were not inappropriate.

Finally, what is in those divorce documents? "There is nothing in them," says Jones-Raya, remembering a call she got from a reporter several years ago who assumed that since the documents were sealed, they must contain something like allegations of spousal abuse. But there is nothing remotely like that, she says. Aguirre and Mazzarella agree. The U-T's hurry-up bullying, possible attempt to make sure Aguirre didn't attend the hearing, and sloppy legal practice may go for naught but cause its legal team big problems.

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