ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has fined the office of Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley $500, citing "continued and belated" failure to produce documents for a police brutality lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig of the Eastern District of Missouri issued a four-page order Tuesday that fined and sanctioned Hawley's office, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch .
The lawsuit was filed by St. Louis wedding photographer Scott O'Rourke. He was arrested and charged after a political protest in 2012. He was later acquitted. He sued St. Louis police, which at the time of the arrest was under state control.
"Although Defendants have at various times asserted that they have fully responded to the discovery requests, their continued and belated production of relevant documents belies these assertions," Fleissig wrote.
Loree Anne Paradise, spokeswoman for Hawley, told the Post-Dispatch that missing deadlines "is never acceptable." She said that when Hawley took office last year he launched a "systematic reorganization of the office's divisions and review of all personnel. We continue to implement those changes."
Hawley, a Republican, replaced Democrat Chris Koster, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2016. Hawley announced last year he is running for the U.S. Senate in an effort to unseat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2018.
The attorney general's office has faced criticism for failing to produce documents in state court, too. Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued an order in December threatening sanctions when Hawley's office failed to provide documents through the discovery process in a company's lawsuit accusing the state of failing to fulfill a contract agreement.