Supreme Court Refuses to Shield Mystery Foreign Company From Mueller’s Investigation

January 9, 2019

By David G. Savage and Chris Megerian

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to block a subpoena issued to an unnamed corporation, owned by a foreign government, ending a mystery dispute in the courts reportedly involving the investigation into Russian election meddling.

The outcome is believed to be a victory for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is seeking to learn about the flow of foreign money that may have played a role in the 2016 campaign.

But most of the details of the dispute, including the name of the foreign country, remain unknown.

Like other federal investigations, Mueller presented evidence to a grand jury, and by law, the proceedings of the grand jury are kept secret to shield people who are innocent of wrongdoing.

Sometimes people or companies object to providing testimony or documents to the grand jury, and if so, they can appeal to a federal judge. These proceedings, too, are kept secret.

A federal judge in Washington and the U.S. Court of Appeals here refused to quash the subpoena. The mystery company filed an appeal under seal with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. It was the rare case in which the legal issues — and even the party to the case — were not revealed.

The Washington Post, CNN and others have reported that the subpoena was issued by the grand jury that has been reviewing evidence in the Russia investigation.

Lawyers who had followed the dispute speculated that the foreign company could have argued that federal law provides legal immunity for foreign nations. However, that immunity can be waived if the entity does business in the United States.

Last month, Roberts granted a temporary stay to the foreign firm, signaling the court may be willing to take up its claims.

But on Tuesday, the court issued a brief order titled “In Re Grand Jury subpoena.”

“The application for stay, presented to the chief justice and by him referred to the court, is denied. The administrative stay previously entered by the chief justice is vacated,” it said. This returns the case to the federal court and allows Mueller to enforce the subpoena.

Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, said he wasn’t surprised that Mueller’s office refused to give up the legal scuffle.

“Prosecutors don’t usually abandon subpoena fights,” he said.

It’s unclear how important the subpoena will be. “You can’t say this is the holy grail of the special counsel investigation,” Turley said. But it “reinforces the view that Mueller is diving deeply into potential financial crimes.”

The secrecy is not surprising, he added. “It’s not as unusual as people may think,” he said. “The court does not want to compromise a grand jury investigation.”

———

©2019 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Trump Ordered Lawyer Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress Russia
Trump Ordered Lawyer Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress
January 18, 2019
by Christina Paulos

President Donald Trump told his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his efforts during the 2016 campaign to move forward on a Moscow hotel tower project, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday. Read More

El Chapo Mistress Flips on Him in Court In The News
El Chapo Mistress Flips on Him in Court
January 18, 2019
by Christina Paulos

January 18, 2019 By Molly Crane-Newman and Nancy Dillon NEW YORK — He was naked and afraid when he jumped down a hatch under his pop-up bathtub and disappeared into the sewer. The Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo had no time to even throw on… Read More

House Voice Vote to End Government Shutdown Sows Confusion Congress
House Voice Vote to End Government Shutdown Sows Confusion
January 18, 2019
by Christina Paulos

The House passed a continuing resolution that would reopen nine Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 on a voice vote, a result that devolved into partisan sparring on the floor as Republicans sought to vacate the vote and Democrats said, in effect, too bad. Read More

Judge Blames Deadly California Wildfires on PG&E’s Uninsulated Power Conductors California
Judge Blames Deadly California Wildfires on PG&E’s Uninsulated Power Conductors
January 18, 2019
by Christina Paulos

A federal judge Thursday blamed uninsulated power conductors owned by PG&E for the bulk of Northern California’s wildfires the past two years – including the deadly Camp fire in Butte County – adding to the legal woes the utility is confronting. Read More

Beto, Bernie and Biden Keep Iowa Democrats in Suspense 2020 Elections
Beto, Bernie and Biden Keep Iowa Democrats in Suspense
January 17, 2019
by Christina Paulos

Iowa Democrats are bracing for a wide-open 2020 presidential race that will spread millions of dollars across the state, but uncertainty about the plans of a few potential top-tier candidates has put many political operatives in a state of suspension. Read More

For Moms at a Shrinking South LA School, the Teachers’ Strike Is About Survival Education
For Moms at a Shrinking South LA School, the Teachers’ Strike Is About Survival
January 17, 2019
by Christina Paulos

The last time teachers went on strike, back in 1989, Alejandra Delgadillo was a fifth-grader at Trinity Street Elementary School. Her sons later attended the school in Historic South-Central too. The youngest moved on to middle school last year. Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top