One of Florida's top Republican political consultants stopped short of accusing the state Supreme Court of lacking "integrity" Friday if it rules that he must disclose emails in a case brought under the state’s new anti-gerrymanding laws.
Pat Bainter, whose firm Data Targeting Inc. has battled for two years to keep the documents private in a lengthy legal battle over the state’s redistricting maps, argued that the release of his emails violates his First Amendment right to anonymous political speech.
But after the justices – who have had access to the documents -- raised doubts about Bainter’s argument that they were trade secrets, he issued a blistering statement.
"Today’s Supreme Court hearing is the culmination of a legal assault and press sensationalism as to whether or not I, a private citizen, have the right to petition my government without fear of a political inquisition into my private matters," he wrote after the oral arguments. "After today's hearing, it is clear to me that, as interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court, Amendments 5 & 6 are unconstitutional because they criminalize political speech based upon its content."
Photo: Pat Bainter, left, consults with his attorneys before the courtroom was closed for his testimony about his undisclosed emails.