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Before CIA Leaks Schulte Trial Inner City Press Urges Access and Exhibits Citing Case Law and US Letter

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 26 – Ten days before the trial of accused CIA leaker Joshua Schulte, set to begin February 3, a final pre trial conference on January 24 showed continuing disputes about the secrecy and sealing of evidence and witnesses.

   Inner City Press has now filed three letters opposing the closing of the courtroom, the denial of a live feed of the proceeding such as has permitted live reporting of the OneCoin / Mark Scott, Rep. Chris Collins and upcoming Avenatti proceedings, and exhibits as have been denied on OneCoin, but provided on Hernandez / Honduras and in the Mack / Ellison / #6ix9ine trial:

"This supplements the January 22 and 23, 2020 submissions on this topic on behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity. The proposed access restrictions remain unacceptable.    A purpose of this submission, more than 24 hours before the scheduled public hearing, is to ensure that claims made in the Government's January 23 Letter are in fact complied with.   

The Government in its Letter at 8 states that its request is 'tailored to preserve overall access as much as possible.' To be true, this would have to comply at least with other trial trials [like US v. Telemaque Lavidas / Nikas]...   The Government Letter also states that 'documentary exhibits (like emails, log files, and documents from the leaks at issue) ... will be available to the public.' But in many trials here in SDNY trial exhibits do not go onto PACER. The US Attorney's Office at times makes some exhibits available to the press but has recently reneged, stating that it is only a courtesy. Inner City Press' FOIA request for exhibits in the OneCoin / US v. Scott trial is still unresponded to.    For the Government Letter to be true, all trial exhibits should be made available as they are entered into into evidence. And a night-of transcript for hundreds of dollars is not accessible. 

  The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that reporting by the news media allows members of the public to monitor the criminal justice system without attending proceedings in person. Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v Virginia, 448 U.S. at 572-73  (1980). By attending and reporting on court proceedings, members of the press "function[] as surrogates for the public." Id. at 573.   

 This is an amplified request, with more than enough notice, for live feeds and exhibits in real time. It is also a renewed request that the courtroom not be closed, particularly since the names of the CIA witnesses will apparently not be given, except to jurors 'in hard copy.'"

   Inner City Press will make these and other arguments on January 27 - watch this site.

  A basic PACER search by Inner City Press finds that Schulte in April 2019 filed a civil lawsuit against the US Attorney General. There is a docket number: 19-cv-3346. Photo here.

  But even on the SDNY Press Room PACER terminal when Inner City Press clicked on the Complaint, it replied, "You do not have permission to view this document." So who does? And is this a public court system? We will have more on this.

   Assistant US Attorney Matthew Laroche argued that while prospective jurors will be shown witnesses real names, it will only by in hard copy and thereafter some 17 of them will be referred to by pseudonyms.

  Schulte's lawyer Sabrina Shroff, still with the Federal Defenders for purposes of this case, insisted on calling these "fake names," and complained about the difficulties imposed in conducting basic research on potential witnesses.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman is asking to have the public excluded from the courtroom during the testimony of several of these CIA witnesses: ten called by the prosecution, and seven the defense seeks to call.

On January 21, SDNY District Judge Paul A. Crotty scheduled a public hearing on US Attorney Berman's request, to be held on January 27 at 2 pm.  Opposition to sealing has already been filed, see Inner City Press filing into the docket on Big Cases Bot, here. Watch this site. The case is US v. Schulte, 17-cr-548 (Crotty).


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