Politics

Alaska will pay $65,000 to settle lawsuit brought by political writer Jeff Landfield

JUNEAU — Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office will grant political writer and website owner Jeff Landfield access to news conferences and pay him $65,000 to settle an ongoing lawsuit.

The settlement was revealed Tuesday as the state filed to dismiss the lawsuit, which Landfield brought in December. Landfield, the owner and operator of The Alaska Landmine, said he was unlawfully excluded from invitation lists to the governor’s news conferences.

“Having reached an amicable settlement of this lawsuit, and the related appeal, the parties stipulate to dismissal of this lawsuit, with prejudice,” the document states.

[Dispute between state Legislature and Dunleavy over governor’s appointees heads to Alaska Supreme Court]

According to the full settlement agreement, “the parties agree that Mr. Landfield shall be provided the same access at gubernatorial press conferences as other members of the media.”

The document also says that “the governor’s office shall pay the Alaska Landmine $65,000 in full satisfaction of the attorneys’ fees and costs the Alaska Landmine has incurred in the lawsuit and appeal.”

Landfield said his attorneys will receive the entire amount, per an agreement he signed at the beginning of the case.

Neither side admits wrongdoing, and the agreement requires both the state and Landfield “to work together to issue a joint public statement regarding the amicable nature of this settlement.”

In January, federal Judge Joshua Kindred granted an injunction that required the governor to invite Landfield to news conferences. Dunleavy is not required to answer Landfield’s questions in those conferences, but in events held since the injunction, he has done so anyway.

The state appealed the injunction to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but Tuesday’s settlement would cancel that appeal, which has not yet been heard.

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