Update June 5 : The Truth About the Malonis Hearing
Let’s separate fact from fantasy:
As revealed in the following correspondence, there had been a controversy brewing over how Malonis should return Teresa’s client file to her. This correspondence was attached as exhibits to pleading filed by Mindy Montford on Annette;s behalf:
Note that the first correspondence from Teresa instructs Malonis not to release anything from the file to anyone for any reason, a very clear directive that sets the tone. Thereafter, Malonis receives numerous requests to have the file delivered to an anonymous address and to Annette or Annette’s attorney. Malonis asks for a directive from Teresa herself and needs confirmation that Teresa understands that she will waive attorney-client privilege if the file is released to a third person. Malonis attempts to work out a way to get the file to Teresa, even offering to have her co-counsel personally deliver the entire file to Teresa at the Ranch…to no avail.
Having been threatened with a complaint to the State Bar, Malonis asks the Court to make the ruling. See Malonis’ motion below:
This appears to be an attempt to protect not only Teresa but a way to protect Malonis as well. Malonis was in a position of possibly being accused of wrongdoing whether she released the file Annette or not. To defuse the issue, Malonis asked the Court to make a ruling about how to handle the file. One of the issues was whether Malonis was even still the Attorney Ad Litem for Teresa because there was still a motion pending where Annette, Willie and Merril were asking to seal the entire file and have Malonis and others turn over all copies of their client files:
So, the Judge in her wisdom set Malonis’ motion and the FLDS motion for hearing at the same time. The hearing took place on May 28. Willie, Merril and Annette were requesting that Teresa’s client file be released and that Malonis be ordered not to keep any copies. They were also requesting that the entire case be sealed or placed under a protective order so that the public could not have access to anything that had been filed — their bigger concern was that they don’t know the extent of materials Malonis received in discovery, and they are afraid of those materials being disclosed to the public.
Certain ex-cons who have taken an interest in FLDS matters have stated that the hearing was closed. That’s false, the hearing was open and there were non-parties present throughout. Said ex-con has stated that Malonis was reprimanded or that somehow the Judge was displeased with Malonis. False, again. Same ex-con reported that there is a gag order over everyone involved in Teresa’s case or that the Judge sealed the whole file. Strike three.
What the judge did rule is that the FLDS folks had not even made a proper request or followed proper procedure to seal anything. She also ruled that Annette (Mindy Montford) did not have a right to ask to protect dissemination of Merril and Willie’s depositions, nor was she going to order Malonis not to disclose or disseminate them, as they were public record. Although Montford tried to argue that the depositions should not have been filed with the records of the Court, Judge acknowledged that it was proper to file them in connection with Malonis’ motions to compel, since Merril and Willie collectively refused to answer some 600 deposition questions.
In the end the Judge ruled that Malonis could release Teresa’s file to Teresa in person at Malonis’ office on a date suggested by Malonis. After all parties and attorneys agreed that they did not object to an instruction to the Clerk regarding access to Merril and Willie’s depsositions, the Judge said she would instruct the clerk not to furnish copies of those depositions without the approval of counsel.
Here are the only orders that resulted from the hearing:
Update: As mentioned by Texas Bluesman, Andrea Sloan was at the hearing purporting to represent Teresa in negotiating the delivery of her file. Although Malonis didn’t challenge Sloan’s authority, she could have. In fact, her representation of Teresa at the hearing may well have been sanctionable or grievable conduct since Andrea Sloan had previously signed an agreement that she would not speak with Teresa without Malonis’ prior approval.
Update 2: one of Malonis’ sons accompanied her and sat through the whole hearing. The hearing was definitely not closed. Maybe the lad is thinking of becoming a lawyer like his mom. Sources present at the hearing report he’s a good-looking boy and very well mannered. Malonis is said to have arranged with the Court in advance and sought permission to have her minor son attend the hearing.