Federal Judge Slaps Down Media’s Request for Trump Docs

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A federal judge denied Politico and The New York Times access to sealed court filings from a grand jury investigation into the events on January 6th, 2021 at the Capitol. The outlets argued that the materials have “historic significance” in their attempt to justify the unsealing.

The media organizations requested the documents last October. They sought information related to former President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to prevent his former aides from testifying about their communications with him.

The Times and Politico based their argument on public interest outweighing the need for secrecy, but the Justice Department objected to their reasoning from the start as it continues to conduct its own investigation into the events leading up to January 6th.

In a 32-page opinion, US District Judge Beryl Howell deemed the documents central to the grand jury’s ongoing investigation and that legal precedent protected them from being released “at least for now and perhaps forever”.

According to NBC News:

Special counsel Jack Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November to oversee the criminal investigation into efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 election, and claims of executive privilege have become a key issue in the probe. The investigation is multi-pronged, looking into the creation of alternative slates of pro-Trump electors who could be used to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory as well as the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Former Vice President Mike Pence has recently been subpoenaed by the special counsel, and lawyers for Trump are expected to fight Pence’s subpoena on executive privilege grounds.

In separate statements, both outlets said they would consider appealing the ruling.

Times spokesman Danielle Rhoades Ha called the ruling “disappointing” and that the outlet would process the rationale for the decision before deciding how to proceed.

Politico spokesman Brad Dayspring similarly said the organization is “committed to the principle that a government of, for and by the people is transparent with the people on such an important matter. We are reviewing the decision and evaluating next steps.”

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