Judge Rules Cylvia Hayes Was A Public Official, Orders Release Of Emails

Aug 5, 2015

A judge Wednesday ruled former Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes was a public official and must hand over emails to the court for review.

Cylvia Hayes will have two weeks to provide the court with private emails from former governor John Kitzhaber’s third term. Then, a judge will decide which emails should be released in the public interest.

Hayes declined to turn over emails last year in a public records request from The Oregonian newspaper. Later, the state Attorney General ordered Hayes to comply, but she sued The Oregonian to block the order.

Charles Hinkle, an attorney for The Oregonian, said it will still be a while before the documents are released, but the ruling sets an important precedent.

“Cylvia Hayes has argued strenuously that she was just a private citizen and that she was not subject to public records law,” Hinkle said. “The court has rejected that.”

Hayes and Kitzhaber left the governor’s mansion for good in February amid a criminal ethics investigation.

Hayes’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.