The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to allow an unknown foreign company – owned by an unknown foreign government – to ask the justices to hear a legal challenge to a still-secret federal grand jury subpoena, which could be related to the Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, as the High Court released new information about the case and its appeal, indicating the unidentified country is a ‘witness’ in this mystery investigation.
In two simple orders issued by the Justices this morning, the Supreme Court allowed the mystery foreign company to submit documents which would not be made public, but also required “redacted copies for the public record,” as the company challenges a request for information as part of an unknown federal investigation.
At this point, the Supreme Court has not accepted the case for argument, but is allowing the unknown company to request a hearing before the Supreme Court – what is known as a writ of certiorari – as the foreign corporation is challenging lower court rulings which forced the company to turn over documents related to a federal grand jury investigation.
“Earlier this year, the U.S. Government served a grand jury subpoena on Country A,” lawyers for the unidentified company wrote in their redacted brief, which was posted online by the Supreme Court.
“Country A understands that it is a witness in the investigation,” the brief added – without giving any details on exactly what is at issue.
The brief revealed that the unidentified country – not the company, but the country – was fined $50,000 per day for refusing to comply with the subpoena, but that financial penalty was put on hold.
In a 55 page brief, which was redacted in parts, lawyers for the foreign country argue that U.S. courts have no power to sanction the unidentified company, or the country which owns the corporation – and that to do so – would risk retaliatory moves against the United States on a broad range of legal fronts.
“Ironically, it comes at a time when the United States is leading the resistance against certain countries’ efforts to restrict immunity in the criminal context,” the anonymous lawyers wrote.
Even with few details available, the mystery case has attracted widespread attention in recent months, as it quickly weaved its way through the federal courts in Washington, D.C. – in almost complete secrecy.
At one point in December, an entire floor of a federal courthouse in Washington was sealed off to allow for arguments before a three-judge appeals panel.
So far, the company – owned by a foreign government – has lost at every level.
There will seemingly be no quick action by the U.S. Supreme Court on this matter, as the Justices gave the government – possibly the Special Counsel – until February 21 to file a response.
You can read the three judge appeals panel’s 28 page decision on the case