Ex-CEO Fights Release of Jail Tapes

ST. LOUIS (CN) – The former CEO of KV Pharmaceutical Co. asked a federal judge to stop the release of his private conversations in the St. Louis County Jail to the Post-Dispatch.

     Under plaintiff Marc Hermelin’s watch, KV was found guilty of federal charges of misbranding drugs. Hermelin, 69, was sentenced to less than 30 days in jail as the responsible corporate officer of KV. He was held in the St. Louis County Jail from March 14 to March 29 on two misdemeanor charges.
     Hermelin and his wife, Sarah Weltscheff, claim the Post-Dispatch’s April 25 Sunshine Law request violates their right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
     “The calls and visits in question were with Ms. Weltscheff, as well as other family members, friends, and rabbis, among others,” the complaint states. “Each recorded conversation was of a completely personal and private nature, and they included (a) confidential communications to and from Mr. Hermelin’s lawyers (through Ms. Weltscheff and another personal assistant) for the purpose of providing and receiving legal advice, (b) confidential communications to and from Mr. Hermelin’s physicians (through Ms. Weltscheff and another personal assistant) regarding Mr. Hermelin’s medical condition and instructions relayed to and from his physicians, (c) confidential discussions with one or more rabbis concerning matters of faith and religion, (d) confidential discussions about his wife, children, and other family members, including discussions about his daughter’s divorce, and (e) confidential discussions regarding the carrying out of Mr. Hermelin’s personal financial affairs.”
     Hermelin claims that though he and his contacts were warned that their conversations were being recorded, they were not told that the conversations were available to the public and could be the subject of media reports.
     Hermelin says the jail already has released visitation and call logs involving him to the Post-Dispatch. He says release of the conversations to the Post-Dispatch would cause him irreparable harm, given the paper’s history of covering him.
     “For months prior to its request for the recordings, the Post-Dispatch published a number of news reports regarding Mr. Hermelin that were not only consistently inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading, but also insulting and defamatory to Mr. Hermelin, his faith, and his family,” the complaint states.
     “For example, in an article dated November 18, 2010, Post-Dispatch reporter Jim Doyle included a description of Mr. Hermelin, who is an Orthodox Jew who maintains a long beard, as ‘looking like Moses lost in the wilderness.'”
     Hermelin and Weltscheff are represented by Jeffrey McPherson with Armstrong Teasdale.
     The St. Louis County Jail, St. Louis County Department of Justice Services and Lillie Hopkins, the custodian of records for the jail, are named as defendants.

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