DC Judge Rejects Trump Bid For Alleged 'Missing Materials' From Jan. 6

DC Judge Rejects Trump Bid For Alleged 'Missing Materials' From Jan. 6

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan dismissed a plea from the legal team of former President Donald Trump, characterizing it as a “fishing expedition” in their request for “missing materials” related to the January 6 investigation.

Chutkan rejected Trump’s move to subpoena various individuals and entities to acquire the “missing records” linked to the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol. Chutkan is presiding over the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith against Trump, as reported by Mediaite.

In order to obtain the “missing records,” Trump’s legal team sought to subpoena seven officials:

–The Archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

–The Clerk of the House of Representatives

–The current Committee on House Administration, which is the successor entity to the January 6 Select Committee

–Richard Sauber, the Special Counsel to the President

–Johnathan Meyer, the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security

–Representative Barry Loudermilk, U.S. House of Representatives

–Representative Bennie Thompson, U.S. House of Representatives

Chutkan labeled Trump’s effort to submit the motion as a “fishing expedition” and outlined the reasons why he “failed to meet the burden” for the motion to succeed in her decision to reject it.

“Defendant likewise fails to meet his burden for the remaining five categories of records that he seeks. Those categories cover documents and communications “in any way pertaining to the Missing Materials,” including their storage, loss, or transfer. See Motion at 5; id. at 8–9. Defendant does not state with any specificity the information that he seeks in those records, repeating only that it is important and related to the events and people associated with the Select Committee’s work and therefore the January 6, 2021 attack. Id. at 9–11,” Chutkan wrote in her ruling.

“The broad scope of the records that Defendant seeks, and his vague description of their potential relevance, resemble less “a good faith effort to obtain identified evidence” than they do “a general ‘fishing expedition’ that attempts to use the [Rule 17(c) subpoena] as a discovery device.” United States v. Binh Tang Vo, 78 F. Supp. 3d 171, 180 (D.D.C. 2015) (quoting Cuthbertson, 630 F.2d at 144); see also id. at 181. ‘If the moving party cannot reasonably specify the information contained or believed to be contained in the documents sought but merely hopes that something useful will turn up, this is a sure sign that the subpoena is being misused.’ Libby, 432 F. Supp. 2d at 31 (quoting United States v. Noriega, 764 F. Supp. 1480, 1493 (S.D. Fla. 1991)). Defendant has not justified the issuance of a Rule 17(c) subpoena for the five additional categories of records related to the ‘Missing Materials,’” she continued.

Chutkan added in a footnote: “The Government argues that the video recordings are categorically irrelevant at this time because (1) the written transcripts render them ‘superfluous,’ and (2) that seeking them before the exchange of witness lists would be ‘at best, premature.’ Opp’n to Motion at 7. Because Defendant has failed to satisfy his initial burden, however, the court need not reach those two arguments.”

She concluded: “For these reasons, the court hereby DENIES Defendant’s Motion for Pretrial Rule 17(c) Subpoenas, ECF No. 99.”


Join the Newsletter