The decision to continue withholding the bulk of the evidence is stirring new criticism of the secrecy that has surrounded the probe since a gunman killed 20 children and six educators inside the school on Dec. 14.
While the gunman took his own life and authorities are not contemplating any prosecutions, the lead investigator, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, has gone to court to fight the release of 911 tapes, consulted privately with victims’ families on what might be included in the report and resisted calls from Connecticut’s governor to divulge more information sooner.
In defense of their handling of records, investigators have cited the scale of the criminal investigation — perhaps the most extensive in Connecticut’s history — and consideration for the victims’ families, some of whom have lobbied for tighter restrictions on public information and complained of being harassed by conspiracy theorists.
Dan Klau, a Hartford attorney who specializes in First Amendment law, said the decision to release a summary report before the full evidence file is a reversal of standard practice and one of the most unusual elements of an investigation marked by secrecy.
“What I found troubling about the approach of the state’s attorney is that from my perspective, he seems to have forgotten his job is to represent the state of Connecticut,” Klau said. “His conduct in many instances has seemed more akin to an attorney in private practice representing Sandy Hook families.”
Sedensky said he could not comment.
Mark Dupuis, a spokesman for Sedensky, said the summary released on Monday will not include the state police report, which is expected to total thousands of pages. It was not clear when the full report would be released.
One argument raised by Sedensky is that if identities of 911 callers are released, they could be harassed by conspiracy theorists accusing them of being “crisis actors.”