Fight to Release Unredacted Mueller Report Advances in Court

(Bloomberg) -- A public interest group’s demand to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction by President Donald Trump will be tied up in court at least until early August.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington on Thursday set a series of deadlines for the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Justice Department to file various documents and scheduled a court hearing for Aug. 5.

EPIC sued in March to make Mueller’s 448-page document public, almost three weeks before its April 18 release. The currently available version has sections blacked out to maintain the secrecy of matters still before grand juries, ongoing investigations and the identities of people who weren’t charged.

"We intend to challenge the basis for all redactions," EPIC’s lawyer Alan Butler told the judge. Buzzfeed joined EPIC’s effort to get an unredacted version with its own lawsuit on April 4.

They’re not the only ones pressing to see what’s been blacked out. Lawyers for Trump confidant and long-time Republican Party operative Roger Stone are also seeking an unredacted copy, asserting it may contain exculpatory evidence. Stone was indicted in January for lying to Congress about communications with WikiLeaks, obstructing their probe and witness tampering. He’s pleaded not guilty.

Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department rebuffed a House Judiciary Committee request for a complete copy of the special counsel’s report together with related investigative records.

Justice Department lawyer Courtney Enlow said in court Thursday that EPIC will be given a version of the report that will include the reasons the government has for withholding information under the federal Freedom of Information Act. That document could be turned over as soon as Friday or more likely on May 6.

The cases are Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Justice, 19-cv-810, and Leopold v. U.S. Department of Justice, 19-cv-957, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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