Court orders DOJ to preserve Comey’s personal emails after agency refused to do so

by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2018

A federal court has ordered the Department of Justice to preserve federal records located in the personal email accounts of former FBI Director James Comey after the DOJ had refused to make them availabe..

The court ordered the DOJ to “take all necessary and reasonable steps” to preserve any potentially responsive records on Comey’s personal email account, Judicial Watch said.

James Comey ‘used a personal email account to conduct FBI business,’ the DOJ’s Inspector General said. / Reuters

In June 2018, the DOJ’s Inspector General stated “We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.”

Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) had filed a motion asking the court to issue an order for preservation that was opposed by the DOJ and FBI.

In the motion, Judicial Watch argued that “there is reason to be concerned that the responsive records could be lost or destroyed.”

In response to Judicial Watch’s concerns, the DOJ sent Comey a letter asking him to preserve records but refused to make the letter available and opposed a preservation order, Judicial Watch said in an Aug. 7 press release.

“This preservation order helps to ensure no Comey records are going to be lost or destroyed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. We expect the DOJ to take immediate steps to make sure the records are preserved, as the court ordered.”

On April 25, the DCNF and Judicial Watch filed a joint lawsuit under FOIA seeking records and emails from Comey “regarding meetings and conversations he had with then-President Barack Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden and a variety of other political figures.”

On July 27, the DCNF and Judicial Watch filed a motion seeking an order to have the DOJ preserve Comey’s work-related personal emails.

Also on July 27, a Washington, D.C. District Court judge ordered the DOJ to respond to the court by Aug. 1 and to the Daily Caller and Judicial Watch by Aug. 3.

On Aug. 1, DOJ attorney Jessie K. Liu responded, “refusing to send an order to Comey or share its communications with the former director seeking the preservation of all his personal emails related to the FOIA requests.”

On Aug. 6, the court gave the DOJ until Sept. 28 “to complete its review and release of any responsive, non-exempt records” to the DCNF and Judicial Watch.

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