Wetterlings seek to stop media intervention in privacy case

Memorial for Jacob Wetterling
Members of Jacob Wetterling's family -- Jacob's mother Patty, brother Trevor, father Jerry and sister Amy -- stand together on the stage of the Clemens Field House Sunday while his sister Carmen speaks at a memorial for 11-year-old Jacob. The memorial service for Jacob Wetterling was held Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

Jerry and Patty Wetterling have filed a court motion arguing that media shouldn't be allowed to challenge their request to keep private portions of an investigative file associated with their son's disappearance.

The Wetterlings have already argued that the public shouldn't have access to parts of the file associated with the abduction and murder of their son, Jacob, relating to their marriage and relationship.

But the latest motion asks the court to stay a motion to intervene filed last month by a group of media and open-government groups, including Minnesota Public Radio, until the court determines whether the contested portions of the file are protected by the constitution.

"Plaintiffs believe that intervention in the first phase of this case is inappropriate and inconsistent with part of the relief being sought — an initial determination that the submitted documents contain constitutionally-protected personal information based on the Plaintiff's rights of informational privacy under the state and federal constitutions," the motion states.

Jacob was kidnapped when he was 11 years old in 1989 in St. Joseph, Minn., while riding his bike home. Last year, Danny Heinrich confessed to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Jacob.

In June of this year, a district judge stopped the release of the Wetterling investigative file, saying some documents are too private to be made public.

The Stearns County sheriff had planned to make public more than 56,000 pages of material from the investigation that spanned nearly three decades.

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