Reporters nonprofit calls for court to unveil filings in mystery grand jury subpoena

Reporters nonprofit calls for court to unveil filings in mystery grand jury subpoena
© Stefani Reynolds

A nonprofit that fights on behalf of journalists has asked the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to make public filings in the fight over a mystery grand jury subpoena thought to be tied to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia investigation.

In a 33-page motion filed Wednesday, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argued that the First Amendment and common law require at least some documents to be made available to the public.

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The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last month upheld a lower court order that found a foreign government-owned company in contempt and imposed a $50,000 fine per day for its failure to comply with a federal grand jury subpoena for information.

The subpoena, related filings and court proceedings have been kept under seal. As the committee noted, the public only learned about the parties’ arguments and got a limited and tailored account of the underlying facts when the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling.

While the court may be trying to keep the grand jury secret, the committee said that alone is not sufficient to override the public’s right to see all documents, including the transcript of oral arguments.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request to stay the lower court ruling that held the company in contempt and announced that it has received a request for permission to file an appeal under seal.