By Ken Dixon
A week after his arguments for keeping secret the emergency 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy were rejected by a state Superior Court judge, Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III decided Monday to end his appeal.
The recordings are scheduled to be released to reporters on Wednesday afternoon in the Danbury offices of the Cohen & Wolf law firm, which has represented Newtown in its attempt to suppress the recordings of land-line calls from the school to police headquarters on the morning of Dec. 14 last year.
“After consultation with the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and the attorney for the Town of Newtown who is a party to the appeal in the Superior Court, we have decided not to pursue an appeal on the denial of the application for a stay,” Sedensky said in a brief statement issued Monday afternoon through the office of Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane.
The surrender will bring to a close a nearly yearlong attempt by the news media to gather evidence that could answer questions about the work of first responders to the school shootings in which 20 first-graders and six adults died before 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza committed suicide.
Sedensky and Nate Zezula, who represented the Newtown Police Department, had appealed a September ruling by the state Freedom of Information Commission ordering the release of the recordings. However, last week New Britain state Superior Court Judge Eliot D. Prescott said that the recordings are in the public interest.
Sources who have heard the recordings have told the Hearst Connecticut Newspapers that there are no screams audible, but possibly the sound of two gunshots. The sources said they believed at some point, Newtown police officials warned officers on the scene to delay entering the school building.
Local police routinely release 911 audio after major crimes, but Sedensky maintained, in part, these recordings should have been kept secret because the deaths of the children amounted to a massive case of child abuse, which would have allowed the state to keep them secret under provisions covering the state Department of Children and Families.