A federal appeals court in Denver on Wednesday denied a petition by the former owners of The Salt Lake Tribune to compel a federal judge to disclose details on his church and political dealings.
The McCarthey family — which has a separate case before the court to recover the newspaper from MediaNews Group Inc. — asked the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to force U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart to reveal all facts about his contributions to The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, any obligations he may have to uphold decisions of the LDS prophet, and his conversations with church leadership.
The petition also sought disclosure of any information Stewart may have garnered while he was former Gov. Mike Leavitt’s chief of staff about an attempt by the LDS Church-owned Deseret Morning News to buy The Tribune.
Stewart repeatedly declined to remove himself from the case.
The appeals court noted the judge already has disclosed he has no independent knowledge of issues in the case.
Stewart also has revealed that while he makes contributions to the LDS Church, “he has no leadership position in his church.”
In denying the petition, the court ruled the facts “simply demonstrate no personal bias or prejudice” on Stewart’s part and that the McCartheys “have not satisfied their burden to show the right to additional disclosure is clear and indisputable.”
The McCartheys could have pursued other avenues to seek evidence of a possible Stewart bias, the judges added, including questioning Leavitt or church officials.