The judge released the feds’ response to a request to release the search warrant for Perry’s phone. type

The judge released the feds’ response to a request to release the search warrant for Perry’s phone. type

It’s been described as a Catch-22, but the ongoing legal battle over the seizure of Scott Perry’s phone in the US as media companies try to obtain search warrants is a lot like Kafka.

To review, last year, media organizations – York Daily Record, The York Dispatch and PennLive – asked the US Department of Justice to release the search warrant, saying it was a matter of public record and interest.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, had his phone seized by the FBI last year. Several media organizations are seeking to release the warrant.

The government objected and then requested that its court filings be sealed, in response to requests to claim it may contain information damaging to its investigation.

In short, the government says it objects to the search warrant request and the reasons for its objection should also be shielded from public scrutiny, something that lawyers representing the media companies described as “a fundamentally unfair way of litigating the case.”

That was the last fall.

Previously:YDR, others sued to quash warrants for Perry’s phone. The Fed wants their response confidential

What it starts with:US Rep. Scott Perry said FBI agents seized his cellphone

Last month, federal magistrate Susan Schwab in US District Court in Harrisburg ordered the government to submit a redacted version of the court filing, to justify withholding its text while revealing common grounds while protecting any information that may be important to the investigation. Search warrant.

“The United States wishes to keep secret that this court has issued a search warrant for Representative Perry’s phone,” Schwab wrote in his order. “But the search warrant that this court issued is already public knowledge.”

The government submitted redacted documents outlining its reasoning for keeping the search warrant secret. But the document has been revised to the point of being almost comprehensible.

For example, in one section of the government’s brief, titled “The Government’s Investigation,” there is a sentence that begins “As part of this investigation, the government is looking into the involvement of Congressman Scott Perry for 10.m district.” after which is blacked out, for the rest of the page and subsequent sections.

So, the bottom line is that the government argued that the public had no right to see the search warrant. Then, the government said the public had no right to know why it was objecting to making the search warrant public. Then, the government, after the court ordered it to release a redacted version of the document, submitted a document with large portions blacked out.

“That’s where we are in this case,” said Grayson Clary, a staff attorney at the nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which is representing media organizations in the case. “When we reach for an analogy, we use the ouroboros, the serpent eating its own tail.”

It all started last August when the FBI executed a search warrant and seized the York County Republican representative’s phone while he was on vacation with his family in New Jersey. The FBI and Justice Department sought access to his phone as part of their investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, an effort that Perry assisted.

Media organizations sought the search warrant — normally a public document — last September, but the request was denied.

As the case moves through federal court, Perry has tried to block the Justice Department from examining his text messages, claiming that more than 2,000 texts allegedly related to efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election are privileged and protected by his status as a member of Congress. .

Last week, a federal judge rejected Perry’s claim and gave the Justice Department access to his texts.

An email seeking comment to Perry’s office was not answered.

Columnist/reporter Mike Argento has been a staff member of the York Daily Record since 1982. Contact him at [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the York Daily Record: Judge Rep. Perry released the feds’ response to the lawsuit seeking the search warrant

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