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News agency sues FBI to release Nashville Christian school shooter's manifesto

"Hale is dead and no threat remains to the public," the lawsuit argues.

Published: May 10, 2023 12:50pm

Updated: May 10, 2023 3:04pm

The Star News Network filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the FBI for allegedly violating the First Amendment by repeatedly rejecting Freedom of Information Act requests for the manifesto of Audrey Hale, who in March opened fire on a private Christian School in Tennessee, killing six people, including three children. 

The lawsuit by the national media outlet based in Tennessee asks a federal district court to order the FBI to release Hale's manifesto and related documents and to declare that the agency violated FOIA by denying the request.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a non-profit law firm, is representing Star News Digital Media, Inc., Star News Editor-in-Chief and CEO Michael Patrick Leahy and Star News editor and reporter Matt Kittle. 

It is still unclear why Hale, a 28-year-old who reportedly identified as a transgender man, opened fire in the school, and the FBI has denied requests to release Hale's manifesto, stating that doing so "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

"Hale is dead and no threat remains to the public," the lawsuit states. "There is no criminal prosecution, investigation, or anything resembling an 'enforcement proceeding.'"

The lawsuit lists multiple recent examples in which the FBI released the manifestos of deceased mass killers quickly after their attacks.

"One could speculate as to why FBI has released so many other manifestos, but not this one. But such speculation is unnecessary for the purposes of this lawsuit. The simple fact is that FBI has not justified its refusal to release this manifesto," the lawsuit also states.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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