A six-decade old murder case working its way through a Washington D.C. Court of Appeals may set a precedent that would prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from publishing any information from stemming from the Trump-Russia investigation, reports Politico.
Columbia University professor Jesus Galindez disappeared in 1956, and was believed to be possibly kidnapped to the Dominican Republic and murdered. His body was never found. The case inspired a 2003 film starring Harvey Keitel, “The Galindez File.”
Attorney and author Stuart McKeever has been pursuing the case, and has asked the D.C. court to release secret testimony given to a DC-based grand jury, however the Department of Justice (DOJ) has argued that judges don’t have “inherent authority” to release said information unless Congress approves.
As Politico‘s Josh Gerstein notes, McKeever’s success or failure to obtain the documents may have far reaching implications for other investigations – including Mueller’s probe of President Trump and those in his orbit.
[I]f a Washington appeals court set to hear the murder-related case next month sides with the Justice Department and rules that judges don’t have the freedom to release grand jury information that is usually kept secret, it could throw a monkey wrench into any plans Mueller has to issue a public report on his probe’s findings, lawyers following the issue said.
And it might even keep the special counsel from sending a report to Congress, shaking Democrats’ hopes that such a document could provide the impetus for impeachment proceedings against the president. –Politico
This means of course that if Mueller can’t nail Trump for anything outside of porn-star payoffs and parking tickets, he will conveniently avoid an embarrassing public disclosure after more than two years of DOJ investigation. On the other hand, if Trump is found guilty of being a Putin-puppet, it would similarly hinder public disclosure.
“It is a sleeper case,” says Harvard Law professor Alex Whiting. “If the D.C. Circuit were to accept the Department of Justice’s arguments…that would have potentially enormous implications for the future of the information from the Mueller investigation. That could close out a path by which that information becomes public.”
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