Seth Rich FOIA status update, Ty Clevenger v USDOJ Dept. of Justice June 7, 2019 defendants request for extension of time granted, Clevenger request for records concerning murder of DNC employee Seth Rich
“The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery.”…Retired Admiral James A. Lyons March 1, 2018
“Mueller, as a matter of determined policy, omitted key steps which any honest investigator would undertake. He did not commission any forensic examination of the DNC servers. He did not interview Bill Binney. He did not interview Julian Assange. His failure to do any of those obvious things renders his report worthless.”…Craig Murray May 9, 2019
“We are being lied to on a scale unimaginable by George Orwell.”…Citizen Wells
On September 1, 2017, Attorney Ty Clevenger made a FOIA request to the U.S. Department of Justice:
“I request the opportunity to view all records and correspondence pertaining to
Seth Conrad Rich (DOB: January 3, 1989), who was murdered in the District of
Columbia on or about July 10, 2016. This request includes, but is not limited to, any records or correspondence resulting from any investigation of his murder.”
On March 14, 2018 Attorney Clevenger filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“This morning I filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that asks a federal judge in Brooklyn to order the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to release records concerning the murder of former Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich.
Back in October, I wrote about the U.S. Department of Justice ordering the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. to release records about the murder, but since that time not a single record has been produced. Around the same time, the FBI refused to search for records in its Washington Field Office, even though that is where the records are most likely to be found. The lawsuit notes that the FBI has a history of trying to hide records from FOIA requestors and Congress.”
From the lawsuit:
“The Plaintiff submitted the FOIA request electronically and/or via facsimile to the following specific components of DOJ: the FBI, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys(“EOUSA”),the Criminal Division,and the Office ofInformation Policy(“OIP”).
7. In a September 13, 2017 letter, the EOUSA indicated that it would not release records without proof of Mr. Rich’s death. The Plaintiff immediately filed an administrative appeal, and OIP reversed EOUSA’s decision on October 2, 2017, directing EOUSA to search for responsive records. As of the date of this Complaint, however, EOUSA has failed to:(1) produce the requested records or demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from production; or(2) notify the Plaintiff of the scope of any responsive records EOUSA intends to produce or withhold and the reasons for any withholdings.
8. In a September 19, 2017 letter, the FBI indicated that its search produced no responsive records: Based on the information you provided, we conducted a search of the Central Recordf System. We were unable to identify main file records responsive to the FOIA. If you have additional information pertaining to the subject that you believe was ofinvestigative interest to the Bureau, please provide us the details and we will conduct an additional search.
9. On September 30, 2017, the Plaintiff filed an electronic appeal of the FBI’s decision with OPI, writing as follows: The September 19, 2017 letter that I received from the FBI indicates that it only searched the “Central Records System” and that it was unable to identify “main file records” responsive to the FOIA. My request was not limited to the Central Records System nor to main file records. Any responsive records likely would be found in emails, hard copy documents, and other files in the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In my experience, the FBI often does not search email accounts in response to FOIA requests, and it appears that it did not search email records in this instance. The FBI should be directed to conduct a thorough search, to include emails and other records in the Washington Field Office. The administrative appeal was denied on November 9, 2017. As of the date of this Complaint, other DOJ components have not responded to the Plaintiffs FOIA request.
10. In response to an unrelated FOIA request submitted by the Plaintiff, the FBI produced documents on January 12, 2018 indicating that Peter Baker, the former general counsel for the FBI, attempted to hide certain records from FOIA requestors. In that request, the Plainiiff sought records concerning laptop computers examined by the FBI as part of its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to the records produced on January 12, 2018, the FBI agreed to take custody of the laptops from two lawyers for purposes of the investigation, but it further agreed to deny that it had custody of the devices for purposes of FOIA requests. See Ty Clevenger, January 12, 2018,”Document dump provides more evidence that FBI was playing politics,” http://lawflog.com/?p=l832. Also during Mr. Baker’s tenure, the FBI withheld records sought by another agency until that agency signed a non-disclosure agreement to prevent the records from being released to Congress. See September 25,2017 Letter from Senator Charles Grassley to FBI Director Christopher Wray, https://www.grasslev.senate.gov/news/news-releases/watchdog-agencv-made-sign-nQn- i disclosure-agreements-get-information-fbi.
11. With respect to Mr. Rich’s murder, the Plaintiff is reliably informed that FBI agents assisted the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department in its investigation, specifically assisting the local police as they sought information from Mr. Rich’s electronic devices. Given the FBI’s history of trying to conceal information from FOIA requestors and Congress, the Plaintiff must wonder whether the FBI entered an agreement with the Metropolitan Police to withhold records related to Mr. Rich’s murder.
12. On October 10, 2017, the Plaintiff filed a FOIA request with NSA that sought, among other things, the following: All correspondence received from or sent to any member of Congress (or anyone representing a member of Congress or Congressional committee) regarding Seth Rich, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Kim Dotcom, Aaron Rich, Shawn Lucas, Kelsey Mulka, Imran Awan, Abid Awan, Jamal Awan, Hina Alvi, and/or Rao Abbas.
13. In a letter dated February 14, 2018, the NSA indicated that it searched for responsive records but was still reviewing the records to determine whether to release them. As of the date of this Complaint, NSA has failed to:(1) produce the requested records or demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from production; or(2) notify the Plaintiff of the scope of any responsive records EOUSA intends to produce or withhold and the reasons for any withholdings.”
The last court record in the lawsuit was Friday, June 7, 2019.
“ORDER: Defendants’ counsel writes, with plaintiff’s consent to request an extension of time for service of defendants’ summary judgment motion. ECF No.24 . This is defendants’ second request. The request is granted. The Court adopts the parties’ proposed briefing schedule. Defendants’ counsel shall serve their motion for summary judgment on plaintiff by July 22, 2019. Plaintiff shall serve his response on defendants’ counsel by August 22, 2019. Defendants’ counsel shall serve their reply on plaintiff and file the fully briefed motion for summary judgment by September 12, 2019. A courtesy copy of the fully briefed motion for summary judgment shall be delivered to chambers by that same date. Defendant is reminded that Local Rule 56.2 requires special notice to a pro se litigant regarding a motion for Summary Judgment. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom on 6/7/2019. ”
You can view the lawsuit’s progress through the court and status here: