Wetterlings given more time to fight release of 'intensely personal' case files

A judge granted an extension because "new issues" have arisen.

The family of Jacob Wetterling has been given until the end of July to challenge the release of police investigative files surrounding Jacob Wetterling's abduction and murder.

Jerry and Patty Wetterling filed a restraining order delaying the release of the documents, saying they want a few pages to be removed because they are "intensely personal" in nature and unrelated to the search for their son.

On Thursday, District Court Judge Ann Carrott extended how long the Wetterlings have to identify the documents they wish to challenge, giving them until the end of July. The initial deadline was June 30. Carrott said this extension was approved because of "new issues" that have arisen since the original order delaying the release was granted.

Several Minnesota media organizations and freedom of information groups are fighting the restraining order, arguing it could create a precedent whereby people or businesses can seek to prevent certain police documents from being released to the public.

State law requires the public release of investigative files after a case has been closed, and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office was due to release some 56,000 pages of documents early in June before the injunction was filed by the Wetterlings.

The Star Tribune, which is not one of the media organizations fighting for the release of the entire file, said that once the Wetterlings identify these pages, Carrott will review them before deciding whether they should be released.

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