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UPDATE: Court unseals Ed Shadid's divorce records

UPDATE: Read the official letter from Ed Shadid at the bottom of this story.

Tim Farley December 20th, 2013

UPDATE: Read the official open letter from Ed Shadid at the bottom of this story.

An Oklahoma County judge unsealed the divorce records of Ward 2 Councilman and mayoral candidate Ed Shadid during a brief hearing Friday morning.

Special Judge Lisa K. Hammond opened the entire file, which includes information that Shadid used marijuana and cocaine, watched pornography and engaged in violent outbursts toward his wife several years ago.

None of those actions occurred since Shadid was elected to the city council in April 2011.

Hammond unsealed the documents at the request of The Oklahoman newspaper. Neither Shadid nor his ex-wife Dina Hammam attended Friday’s hearing. Shadid’s attorney also was not present. Meanwhile, the newspaper was represented by attorney Robert Nelon while Oklahoman reporter Nolan Clay and editor Robbie Trammell covered the hearing.

Hammond sealed the divorce file and her order explaining why the records were kept secret in June 2007.

Hammond commented during Friday’s hearing that she no longer was opposed to unsealing the records. The judge admitted that one document could be removed from the public record, but opted to release it since Shadid did not attend the hearing to protest.

The Oklahoman’s focus in previous news stories centered on Shadid invoking his constitutional Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination during a 2005 divorce deposition. The deposition’s transcript shows Shadid, on the advice of his attorney, did not answer questions about past drug use.

Since then, Shadid, on several occasions, has publicly admitted to a marijuana addiction and that he snorted cocaine on two occasions – in 2000 and again in 2004.

In a statement made Thursday night, Shadid said, “We have always made it clear that we have no objection to allowing the media to see the entirety of our divorce files, but in a way that would protect our children. There was very little we which we wanted redacted for their protection. All such efforts were rejected by The Oklahoman and the judge appears to have made her decision before hearing the merits of the case.”

Shadid and Hammam have three children together – ages 9, 10 and 12.

The Ward 2 councilman told campaign supporters Thursday night that the newspaper’s open records request is an attempt to discredit him in his bid to unseat three-term OKC Mayor Mick Cornett. The election is March 4.

“When a newspaper suppresses information about its friends and goes to any lengths to politically harm its opponents, the goal is to silence dissent,” he said to an audience of about 300 people.

As part of his comments, Shadid relayed a conversation he had with his oldest child.

“Last night, my 12-year-old daughter asked me why the newspaper was doing this and I tried to explain that it was because they wanted me to stop fighting the way decisions are made. She responded, ‘So keep fighting,’” Shadid said to a round of applause.

Hammam filed for divorce from Shadid in December 2004, and the divorce was finalized in March 2007, court records show.

See Tim Farley's Dec. 15 story here: OPEN & SHUT?



Editor’s note: Following is a statement from Ward 2 Councilman and mayoral candidate Ed Shadid in connection with media reports that addressed his divorce records. The file was unsealed Friday, Dec. 20 by a court order from Oklahoma County Special Judge Lisa K. Hammond. The divorce records had been sealed since June 2007.

“For many years, I have been very public about my addiction and recovery. I have maintained transparency because I believe it is helpful for those in long-term recovery to come forward in order to decrease the associated shame and stigma.

"The unsealing of our divorce records is revealing the wreckage of my past. It is a testament to what addiction did to our family. The greater story is the power of addiction recovery programs that can give individuals and families the tools they need to heal and thrive.

"I am grateful that I had access to one of the country’s best treatment centers and completed a five-year program with the Oklahoma Health Professionals Program (OHPP). The nationally recognized OHPP works with a large number of physicians throughout Oklahoma and I have their strong support. I have not used any illicit drugs or alcohol in more than nine years with many years of urine and hair screens to prove it.

"The stack of divorce documents is more than two feet high. I have read very little of it over the years and do not intend to read it now or in the future. I have at all times answered questions about the divorce file and the use of the Fifth Amendment honestly given my memory of these traumatic events, my understanding of the documents, all the while knowing they were going to be released.

"Given that sexual abuse allegations were disproved and that Dina wrote to the court that I had “difficulties with marijuana abuse and not cocaine abuse” my understanding has been that the Fifth Amendment argument presented to the court dealt with marijuana abuse.

"There were many false allegations during our divorce, which were reported on by The Oklahoman and other media outlets. For instance, outrageous allegations of sexual abuse and “free-basing” cocaine with a male prostitute were completely untrue.

"As to allegations of domestic violence, I never physically harmed Dina. Nevertheless, episodes of shouting and breaking a lamp are examples of intimidation and control and are not acceptable under any circumstance. I would never want my children harmed; they are my world. I never watched pornography in front of them or hurt them in any way.

"The Guardian Ad Litem, Dr. John Call, an attorney and psychologist, represented the children and held no allegiance to either parent. All members of the family spent hundreds of hours with Dr. Call. He reviewed the entirety of my substance abuse treatment records and ultimately recommended to the court that the children spend roughly half of their time with me and they have done so for nearly a decade.

"Although we are not a traditional family, we are still a family nonetheless. With all my being I love both Dina and my children and I will not engage in further dialogue on these matters.”

— Ed Shadid

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