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Indiana court ends lawyer’s legal quest for Pence emails

FILE - In this April 17, 2017, file photo, Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington. The Indiana Supreme Court is denying a request from Democratic attorney William Groth, who wanted his public records case against Pence to be given a fresh look. The court's ruling effectively ends a two-year effort by Groth for documents and emails from Pence's tenure as governor. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court is denying a request from an attorney who wanted his public records case against Vice President Mike Pence to be given a fresh look amid revelations that the former Republican governor used a private AOL email account to conduct state business.

The court’s ruling effectively ends the two-year effort by Indianapolis attorney William Groth, a Democrat, for documents and emails from Pence’s tenure as governor, his lawyer Gregory Bowes said Monday.

Groth initially sued after Pence refused to release a document attached to an email from Texas Republicans, which outlined a legal strategy for challenging then-President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.

A lower court sided with Pence, as did Indiana’s Court of Appeals. That led Groth to appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.

But once Pence’s use of a private AOL email account was revealed, Groth asked to have the case sent back to a lower court to see if additional emails had been withheld from him.

The state’s highest court denied both requests in a unanimous opinion issued Thursday.

Pence took office as governor in 2012. During that time his administration repeatedly delayed or denied the release of records that could shed light on his tenure.

Pence’s efforts stand in stark contrast to the image he had previously sought to cultivate. He has long presented himself as a champion of a free press and the First Amendment.

Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said in a statement that the court’s decision reaffirms “then-Governor Mike Pence acted in compliance with Indiana law.”

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