The FBI should only have 14 days, not 66 years, to produce information from Seth Rich’s laptop computer, a lawyer argued in a new court filing.
After a U.S. judge ordered the FBI to produce the information, the bureau said that it should not be required to hand it over because of exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). And if the bureau still had to produce the information, government lawyers said it should have 66 years because it needs to review the information and redact certain information.
Ty Clevenger, the attorney representing Brian Huddleston, the Texas man who sued the FBI over the information, disagreed.
He told the judge in the new filing that the FBI failed to brief on the exemptions it is now claiming following the judge rejecting an attempt to shield the information because of privacy concerns for Rich’s relatives. That failure means the FBI cannot now rely on the exemptions, Clevenger said.
“Having failed to raise an issue or brief it in a motion for summary judgment, the movant may not then salvage the issue by raising it in a motion for reconsideration,” he said, citing previous court cases. “In other words, the movant does not get a Mulligan on reconsideration, which is exactly what the FBI seeks here.”
The bureau says that FOIA exemption 7(D)-3, which enables shielding identifying information of law enforcement personnel, and information provided by the personnel, enables it to keep withholding Rich’s laptop information from Huddleston.
“In short, the compact disc containing the images of Seth Rich’s personal computer were provided to the FBI by a local law enforcement agency under implied assurances of confidentiality, and thus the FBI properly withheld the compact disc in its entirety pursuant to Exemption 7(D)-3,” government lawyers told the court.