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Chicken-Fried News: Black hole judge

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Gov. Mary Fallin failed to win this year’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Oklahoma’s Black Hole Award after winning two years in a row. The “incumbent’s” winning streak ended abruptly when FOI Oklahoma announced that a judge bested her ability to stall access to public information.

The award instead went to Special Judge Howard Haralson for “turning his courtroom into a black hole during an important divorce case, that of Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm,” said a statement posted to FOI’s website.

Hamm split with his wife a few years ago, and Forbes claimed that his recent divorce settlement “could be the world’s most expensive at over $5 billion.” (A photo of the cashed check he wrote to his ex went viral.)

FOI Oklahoma, a “sunshine law” advocacy group that promotes openness in government, claims that the judge ignored the First Amendment when he blocked public and media access to all but three days of the 10-week trial. Two state Supreme Court justices said they believe Haralson failed to follow important protocols regarding the sealing of court records.

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