Arizona Judge Demands Gallego Justify Basis for Hundreds of Proposed Redactions to Divorce Filing 

Rep. Ruben Gallego and his son (@RubenGallego/Twitter)
May 15, 2024

An Arizona judge on Friday demanded that Rep. Ruben Gallego (D., Ariz.) file a pleading within 15 days outlining the basis for hundreds of proposed redactions to his 2017 divorce filing.

In response to the Washington Free Beacon’s motion to unseal those filings, Gallego requested far-reaching redactions. Some span paragraphs, while others include publicly available information such as where Gallego’s ex-wife, Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego, went to high school, and the name of their son, with whom Gallego has recently appeared on the campaign trail.

The May 10 ruling from Yavapai County Superior Court judge John Napper comes after Napper said in late March that he saw no justification for the total sealing of the case file and did not believe much, if any, of it should remain private. He subsequently ordered Gallego to propose specific redactions to the file.

Gallego responded with a request for 674 redactions, which the Free Beacon argued are "far too many and far too broad" given that "no regular citizen would have been able to convince this court to seal the entire case—from the case’s existence, to the case number, to all the filings and Court decisions."

The congressman, who is now running for a Senate seat, filed for divorce in 2016 when Kate Gallego was nine months pregnant with their son.

He did so in Yavapai County, 100 miles from his home in Maricopa County, and says in his filings that he and his wife "were and are high-profile politicians in Maricopa County." It is unclear why Gallego filed in Yavapai County, given that Arizona law stipulates that divorce filings "shall be brought in the county in which a petitioner is residing at the time the action is filed."

Lawyers for Gallego are fighting the release of the records, arguing that their privacy concerns and status as well-known politicians override the public interest in transparency and that the Free Beacon is a "partisan publication" and seeks the documents for "nakedly partisan" uses.

Reached at home with his family, Free Beacon chairman Michael Goldfarb declined to defend the paper’s reputation for nonpartisan investigative reporting.