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United States v. ZTE Corporation

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  1. Court Access

Case Number: 3:17-cr-00120-K

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division

Clients: Dow Jones, Reuters

Motion to Intervene and Unseal Judicial Records Filed: June 27, 2022

Background: In 2017, ZTE Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment, pleaded guilty to, among other felonies, conspiring to violate U.S. export laws by shipping goods from the United States to Iran. The Chinese company was subjected to historic penalties, including hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and forfeitures, as well as five years of corporate probation under an independent monitor.

Although criminal court records are typically considered public information, nearly all hearings and filings in the case have been sealed without explanation.

On behalf of Dow Jones and Reuters, attorneys for the Reporters Committee and law firm Haynes and Boone, LLP, filed a motion to intervene and unseal the judicial records, arguing that the public has a right of access to the judicial records in the case under both the common law and the First Amendment. The news organizations argue that there is a significant public interest in the sealed records, in part because of the major political and economic ramifications of the case and because of the corporate monitor’s reported personal relationship with the court.

Co-counsel: Haynes and Boone, LLP

Quote: “This secrecy deprives the public of important insights that could demonstrate the fundamental fairness both of the monitor’s appointment and the process by which the monitor and the court evaluated ZTE’s compliance with the terms of the plea agreement.”

Filings:

2022-06-27: Motion of Dow Jones and Reuters to intervene and unseal judicial records

2022-06-27: Brief of Dow Jones and Reuters in support of their motion to intervene and unseal judicial records