Records related to the mental health of state Rep. Susan King, R-Abilene, will remain sealed at least until Nov. 21, punting a potentially thorny issue for the Texas Senate candidate until after the election.
A state district judge on Tuesday ordered that “certain information” collected by the City of Abilene — including incident reports related to a 911 call — can be protected from disclosure under open records law at least until a November trial.
King and Travis County eye surgeon Dawn Buckingham are competing in a May 24 Republican primary runoff to represent Senate District 24, a sprawling, rural district that reaches from Abilene to the northwest suburbs of Austin. The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Virginia "Jennie Lou" Leeder in November.
King and her husband would be “irreparably injured” by the release of the information before November because they would be “unable to pursue their lawsuit," Travis County District Judge Lora Livingston wrote in her order, which was first reported by the media outlet Quorum Report.
Last year, King sought treatment for depression and temporarily withdrew from her senate race to replace outgoing state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay. At least four people, including members of the news media, have requested records related to the lawmaker from the City of Abilene under the Texas Public Information Act, according to legal filings.
King’s family went to court to block the records from being released. When news of the public information lawsuit first broke, King accused Buckingham of trying to expose King’s “private health records.” Buckingham’s campaign vehemently denied the claim, calling King a liar.
Matthew Langston, a spokesman for Buckingham, said the judge's order would keep voters "in the dark."
"Voters deserve to know what Susan is hiding. Clearly it’s something serious," he said in an email. "If it’s nothing to worry about as she claims, Susan King should call for the release of the 911 tapes and redact the portion that pertains to her so-called 'medical records.'"
A representative for King's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.