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Citing Unlawful Withholding, Court Awards $900,000 in FOIA Case Legal Fees

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  1. Freedom of Information
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Declaring that the Department of Commerce’s handling of a 10-year-old FOIA request for trade mission records was “inadequate, unreasonable, and unlawful” and that the department both removed and destroyed public records rather than release them under court order, the U.S. District Court in Washington awarded Judicial Watch, the requester, $897,331 in fees and costs. “As if the agency’s own conduct were not reprehensible enough, its counsel has also repeatedly strayed far outside the boundaries of professional conduct (although not without some provocation by counsel for Judicial Watch),” the court said. (8/5/05)