For months, the media and public have wondered about a certain corner of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation, namely the matter of a foreign company resisting a grand jury subpoena. All that’s known about the case is that it involves a foreign-based firm that is controlled by their home country, and that they’ve incurred hefty monetary penalties for refusing to comply with a subpoena after being held in contempt.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press pushed for the court to release the name of the company, but after a ruling on Monday, we’ll have to keep waiting.
Judge Beryl Howell‘s ruling was on a motion from the Committee to allow redacted versions of various court filings in the case to be made available on the public record, and to allow the public to learn the name of the mysterious company. The judge agreed to allow the release of redacted briefs and transcripts, but said the company’s identity has to remain a mystery, at least for the time being.
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.”
As far as learning the company’s identity, the judge said that this was already denied by the D.C. Circuit Court, and that “the Reporters Committee has no Constitutional, common law, or rules-based claim of entitlement to the Corporation’s identity, and certainly not while the grand jury investigation persists.”
Could we learn more after the investigation is over? Maybe, but Judge Howell isn’t looking ahead to that.
“At this time, the Court will not direct that the public records identify the contemnor,” she said.
Mueller concluded his investigation in March, and submitted his final report to Attorney General William Barr. He has passed this case off to prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.
[Image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images]
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