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Watchdog sues DOJ seeking names of special counsel staff

Judicial Watch filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Published: June 5, 2023 3:21pm

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on Monday announced that it had filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice over its refusal to disclose the names of staffers working with special counsel Jack Smith on his investigation of former President Donald Trump.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith in November of last year to handle the DOJ's Trump-related investigations, which include his alleged mishandling of classified materials. Reports emerged in May of this year that Smith is near the end of his investigation.

The DOJ previously rejected a FOIA request from Judicial Watch in December 2022 seeking the rosters of Smith's office. The agency insisted that honoring such a request would constitute a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and that releasing the records "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

Smith's investigation has remained relatively out of the news, with few details leaking as to its progress. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asserted the need for transparency in the wake of special counsel John Durham's report revealing that the FBI opened its own investigation into Trump without any predicating evidence.

"Given the overwhelming evidence of anti-Trump bias disclosed in the Durham Report, it is urgent that Americans be able to find out who is again investigating Trump from the Garland Justice Department and his appointee Jack Smith," Fitton said. "Special Prosecutor Jack Smith isn’t above the law, and the American people have the right to know about just who is working on his unprecedented and politicized anti-Trump investigation."

Judicial Watch filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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