NewsNational

Actions

Supreme Court to discuss Mueller-related mystery case behind closed doors Friday

Posted: 5:23 PM, Jan 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-17 18:23:03-05

The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss a mystery case related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The discussion is slated to occur during the justices' regularly scheduled conference where the justices will also consider pending petitions on blockbuster issues such as DACA, the ban on transgender people in the military, abortion and the Second Amendment.

The case concerns an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation that is fighting a subpoena request from a DC-based grand jury. Lower courts have ruled that the company must turn over the information and imposed fines for every day it failed to do so.

Last week the Supreme Court denied an emergency request from the company to freeze the financial penalty, pending appeal.

Now, lawyers for the company are asking if they can file their appeal with the Supreme Court under seal.

The justices are not -- at this juncture -- considering the merits of the appeal, only if the papers can be filed under seal accompanied with a redacted report for public release.

In ruling against the company, the appeals court said the request fell within an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that limits foreign governments from being sued in US courts. The court also held that the company had not shown that its own country's law bar compliance.

One of the firms involved in the challenge is Alston & Bird , CNN has reported, a firm that has previously represented Russian interests, including working for a Russian oligarch and a contractor of the Russian government.

Grand jury matters in the federal court system are typically kept secret, unless a witness decides to speak about the subpoenas they receive or their experience testifying.

However, the case has still been one of the most secretive in years to progress through the court system.

It apparently included two face-offs between special counsel office prosecutors and the unnamed company's private attorneys.

After losing at the trial level, the DC Circuit Court closed a floor of the courthouse during appellate arguments to keep the identities of the arguing attorneys completely under wraps.

The company has kept nearly all its filings secret -- with the exception of a log of when it submits information to the appeals courts.

Though the Supreme Court allows for cases like this to be secret in their early requests, the high court has never heard a known case where all parties and arguments stayed confidential.