Court Filings In House Intel Legal Battle For Dossier Firm Docs To Be Made Public

AP
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A federal judge said Wednesday that the legal fight over whether the House Intelligence Committee can subpoena the bank records of the Trump dossier firm was too important for the filings in the case to remain under seal.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon told lawyers representing the firm Fusion GPS, its bank and the House of Representative that they needed rework court pleadings filed previously under seal so that they could be made available to the public.

“Let the public see the pleadings,” Leon said. “This is not a normal case.”

After asking that the court documents be refiled next Tuesday, Leon scheduled a hearing for Nov. 30.

For weeks Fusion GPS and the House Intelligence Committee have been battling over the subpoenas the committee has issued for the firm as part of its Russia investigation.

Fusion GPS hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier last year as part of a opposition research projected being funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The dossier made several allegations, many highly scandalous, regarding President Trump’s Russia ties, and some of them have been borne out by subsequent revelations.

At one point, Fusion GPS’ lawyers accused House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) of engaging in a “pattern of unprofessional conduct” in the committee’s investigation into the firm’s role.

The firm’s founder, Glenn Simpson, was interviewed by the House Intel Committee Tuesday, after reaching an agreement that Fusion’s lawyer Joshua Levy said allowed the firm to maintain “the confidentiality of their clients.”

The legal battle over the banking records began last month, but it appeared that an agreement on turning over the records had been reached a week after the initial complaint was filed.

However, that agreement apparently fell apart over the committee’s most recent set of demands, and Fusion GPS filed a motion earlier this month seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the bank from handing over the records. The firm said the committee was seeking records not in the “furtherance of any legitimate legislative purpose, but instead to annoy, harass, and punish Fusion GPS. ”

Most of the court documents since have been filed under seal, and some aspects of the case may need to be still kept out of the public view, Leon said Thursday. Instead of deciding on a temporary restraining order, Leon said he would be assessing later this month whether to impose a preliminary injunction on enforcing the subpoena.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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