In the midst of divorce, the husband of Arizona state representative Michelle Ugenti has issued a subpoena to Verizon Wireless in order to obtain records of her text messages as he believes she has been unfaithful. Michelle Ugenti and her lawyer are attempting to have the subpoena revoked and are trying to take advantage of her position as state representative in order to do so. They are currently settling their divorce in an Arizona courtroom.
Michelle Ugenti’s lawyer argued on May 28 that even if she was unfaithful that it was irrelevant to the case. The lawyer said that the husband’s subpoena is “harassment” and is asking the judge to deny any disclosure of Ugenti’s text message records. The lawyer then argued that some of Ugenti’s text messages fall under the attorney-client agreement, which calls for complete discretion of all conversation between an attorney and a paying client, because there are messages between the two of them on her phone. On the third leg of his argument, the lawyer also stressed to the judge that Ugenti’s text messages are protected by “legislative privilege” and claimed that the release of these messages into the public spotlight could potentially reveal things such as her re-election efforts and political plans.
Though allegations of adultery can affect divorce proceedings, the representative’s lawyer claims that proof of adultery in an Arizona courtroom wouldn’t change the outcome of an alimony decision. The amount and duration of the alimony award will more likely be affected by the difference in income between the former partners, their educational levels and job history and how much income the court expects that they can reasonably be expected to make in the future.
Source: Arizona Capitol Times, “Ugenti: Legislative privilege prevents search for evidence of affair with co-worker”, Hank Stephenson, May 30, 2014