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Reporters Committee secures partial unsealing win in mystery Mueller grand jury subpoena case

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  1. Freedom of Information

More information will be unsealed in the ongoing mystery grand jury subpoena case tied to the now-complete Mueller investigation, thanks to a partial win in D.C. District Court for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The case, which involves an unidentified company (Corporation A) that is owned by an unidentified country (Country A), has been ongoing since August 2018. The company has been subpoenaed to produce information to a grand jury and was found in contempt and fined after declining to do so. The majority of the court records related to the contempt proceedings were sealed, which prompted the Reporters Committee to file a motion to unseal in the hopes of revealing more information to the public.

“Transparency, particularly when it comes to judicial proceedings, is very important,” Chief Judge Beryl Howell said during a March 27 hearing on the Reporters Committee’s motion to unseal. “There should be no secret law.”

Following the hearing, Theodore J. Boutrous, a partner at Gibson Dunn who argued on behalf of the Reporters Committee, said he was hopeful about the potential for the disclosure of Corporation A’s identity at some point.

“We feel very good about the fact that the court is at least considering releasing the witness’s identity,” he said.

On April 1, Judge Howell issued an opinion ordering the release of redacted briefs and transcripts from the court proceedings.

In her ruling, Judge Howell said Corporation A and the government must advise the court which records they believe can be unsealed with redactions and submit their proposed redactions by May 1. She also said the identity of Corporation A will remain under seal “at this time,” since federal attorneys stated at the March 27 hearing that the grand jury proceedings are “continuing robustly.”

The government has opposed the release of the company’s name, and a partner at Alston & Bird LLP, the law firm representing Corporation A, said in court that the company preferred not to disclose its identity, declining to provide a specific reason why in the public hearing.

View the full transcript from the hearing. The Reporters Committee’s full timeline of our efforts to unseal is available here.