There’s been an update in the matter known formally as In re: Grand Jury Subpoena — the case of a mystery foreign country owned by a mystery foreign country that resisted a grand jury subpoena from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The docket activity on Friday in United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit represents the first such activity since May 3, when the court received sealed responses from the appellee, one of which was ex parte (one party only). The three-judge panel of Judges David Tatel, Thomas Griffith and Stephen Williams ordered the government to “publicly file its proposed redacted of its merits brief and the oral argument transcript” by Friday, June 21 (or two weeks from now).
“The government is instructed to unredact the information listed in the sealed appendix to this order. The government need not unredact any portion of the index to the transcript,” the judges said.
The panel also ordered that the government file by the same deadline its “proposed redacted version of the Letter from Government to Corporation’s Counsel,” and the redacted version of the “Corporation’s merits briefs.”
“The government is instructed to unredact the information listed in the sealed appendix to this order,” the court said.
There were three more orders.
Also by the afternoon of June 21, the government must file proposed reactions in regard to the following six documents:
(1) Government’s Opposition to Motion for Leave to File Public Response to Motion to Unseal (Jan. 23, 2019); (2) Government’s Response to Supplemental Reply in Support of Motion for Leave to File Public Response to Motion to Unseal (Jan. 28, 2019); (3) Government’s Supplemental Response to Motion for Leave to File Public Response to Motion to Unseal (Jan. 31, 2019); (4) Country A’s Motion to File Publicly its Response to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’s Motion to Unseal (Jan. 16, 2019); (5) Country A’s Reply Supporting its Motion for Leave to File Response Not Under Seal (Jan. 23, 2019); and (6) Country A’s Supplement to Reply Brief Supporting its Motion for Leave to File Response Not Under Seal (Jan. 25, 2019).
The judges then ordered that government’s proposed redactions to the aforementioned ex parte session be filed by 4 p.m. on July 12, “in accordance with the directions in the sealed ex parte appendix to this order.”
The most disappointing part of the order is that we will still not (yet) learn the identity of the mystery corporation.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has pushed for the court to release the name of the company, but the court has denied that effort again — at least for the time being.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that the Reporters Committee’s request that the court instruct the government and the Corporation to refrain from redacting the Corporation’s identity be denied without prejudice.
“Without prejudice” means that the Reporter’s Committee is allowed to ask for this again.
U.S. Distrcit Judge Beryl Howell previously agreed to allow the release of redacted briefs and transcripts, but said the company’s identity had to remain a mystery.
Judge Howell noted, however, that the redacted documents may not be very informative, given that the grand jury’s investigation is still going on, and such proceedings are secret.
“Ultimately, then, redacted versions of the requested briefs and transcripts might produce little material for public consumption,” she wrote. “The parties shall do their best to identify material that may be released without compromising matters occurring before the grand jury. Maintaining grand jury, however, secrecy is paramount.”
Mueller’s grand jury is said to be “continuing robustly.”
Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]