Judge Orders Search Warrant In Weiner Probe Unsealed
A federal judge has ordered the FBI to unseal at least a portion of the search warrant it obtained after finding emails pertinent in the Hillary Clinton investigation during the Bureau’s Anthony Weiner probe.
U.S. District Court P. Kevin Castel issued the warrant in late October, after the FBI requested permission to search emails contained on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, husband to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The FBI discovered the 600,000 Clinton-related emails after initially seizing the laptop during a probe over Weiner’s alleged sexually explicit online exchanges with a minor.
According to LawNewz, the FBI’s planned disclosure is directly related to an effort by well-known attorney, E. Randol Schoenberg, who filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking the “immediate disclosure of the FBI search warrant for the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”
In Monday’s order, the judge concluded:
Justice Department prosecutors initially opposed the unsealing, but agreed last week that much of the information could be made public with redactions about an unnamed person, who initially appears to be Weiner.
Castel said that information in the documents referencing another person should also be deleted due to that person’s “strong privacy interest in keeping his or her identity secret.” That person, called “Subject 2” in the public paperwork, may be Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin.
“The judicial determination whether to grant a search warrant, and thus allow the government to enter and search private property, directly affects individuals’ substantive rights,” wrote Castel, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Documents that a court relies on in making this determination, such as affidavits, directly affect the court’s adjudication of those rights….The common law presumption of access to the search warrant and related materials sought by this applicant is thus entitled to great weight.”
Prosecutors also asked the judge to delete the names of FBI agents involved in the Clinton email probe, citing their work in national security and counterintelligence investigations. Castel agreed to redact those names “at this stage,” but he called that “a somewhat close question.”
“The government has a strong interest in not compromising the activities of agents working in these sensitive areas,” the judge wrote.