Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch is citing backlash she’s received from her lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to reverse a national right to an abortion as reason to seal records dealing with the probate of the estate of her deceased father.
Fitch, a first-term Republican attorney general, and her sister, Lisa Fitch Wavro, are challenging whether their father William O. Fitch, who died in September 2021, was of sound “mental capacity” when he terminated a prenuptial agreement he had with his wife, Aleita Fitch, who is the sisters’ stepmother. Because of William Fitch’s alleged mental state in January 2021, when the prenuptial was dissolved, the sisters contend they are “the only beneficiaries” of the estate.
Fitch recently filed a motion in Marshall County Chancery Court asking the judge to seal “any and all financial-related information of the estate to protect the integrity of these proceedings from attention and media coverage that might hamper resolution of the estate.”
Fitch says that if her father’s case remains public record, she would be subject to “harassment, abuse and even threats to personal safety” — citing threats she has received as she argues that the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
“The attorney general for the state of Mississippi would be subject to harassment, abuse and even threats to her personal safety if the information is included in the public record of the court,” Fitch’s filing says. “General Fitch has been the subject of threatening comments and actions in the past because of positions she has taken as attorney general, and in particular recently in response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case which she brought before the United States Supreme Court and as to which a draft opinion of the court was leaked.”
The SCOTUS case seeks to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion under certain parameters. The case was argued in December 2021, and recently a draft opinion was leaked that would provide enough votes on the Supreme Court to reverse the 1973 decision.
Fitch and her sister have been in a protracted legal battle with Aleita Fitch. The original litigation involved conservatorship of William Fitch.
Those court documents also were sealed. But before they were sealed, there were allegations by Aleita Fitch and her attorneys that Lynn Fitch used the power of her office in the battle over conservatorship.
Published reports accused Fitch of using state “bodyguards” to take without permission money, firearms and other papers from Aleita Fitch’s residence.
In the lawsuit, Aleita Fitch accused the attorney general of moving William Fitch from a hospital in Oxford without having authority to do so. Lynn Fitch responded that Aleita Fitch was verbally abusive toward her father.
William Fitch was a successful north Mississippi businessman who played a significant role in financing his daughter’s first foray into politics, her successful campaign in 2011 for the office of treasurer.