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In re Search Warrant dated November 5, 2021

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  1. Court Access

Case Number: 21 MAG 10685

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Client: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Request to Unseal Filed: Nov. 15, 2021

Background: On Nov. 5, 2021, a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a search warrant permitting the government to seize and extract information from cell phones found in the home of James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas. Federal authorities executed the search warrant the next day.

On Nov. 15, 2021, Reporters Committee attorneys filed a motion to unseal the search warrant application, supporting affidavit and other judicial documents related to law enforcement’s search of O’Keefe’s home.

Quote: “The public and the press have a strong interest in access to these materials, which should provide information about the government’s justification for the search,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement.

Update: On Dec. 7, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the Reporters Committee’s motion to unseal the search warrant materials. The Reporters Committee filed objections to the court’s opinion and order on Dec. 20, arguing that the magistrate judge erred in concluding that the materials underlying the search warrant have to remain sealed in their entirety, without an end date. Reporters Committee attorneys also argued that the magistrate judge erred in holding that the public has no right under the First Amendment to view the materials underlying the government’s application for a warrant.

Filings:

2021-11-15: Motion to unseal

2021-11-19: Government’s response to Reporters Committee motion to unseal

2021-11-23: Reporters Committee reply in support of unsealing

2021-12-07: Opinion and order

2021-12-20: Reporters Committee’s objections to the magistrate judge’s opinion and order

2022-01-05: Reporters Committee’s letter in support of objections