This is huge!
U.S. District Court Judge ruled today that Fusion-GPS must turn over their banking records. Fusion GPS fought an injunction forcing them to turn over the records and lost…
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) January 5, 2018
FUSION GPS FOUGHT THE RELEASE OF THE RECORDS:
In a 26-page-ruling (full pdf below) the judge denied all of the reasons for the injunction and ruled the subpoena from the congressional committee was lawful.
This is HUGE!
The Subpoena seeks the production of records that have a ‘reasonable possibility’ … of producing information relevant to that constitutionally authorized investigation.”
“Although the records sought by the Subpoena are sensitive in nature — and merit the use of appropriate precautions by the Committee to ensure they are not publicly disclosed — the nature of the records themselves, and the Committee’s procedures designed to ensure their confidentiality, more than adequately protect the sensitivity of that information,” the judge added.
Leon dismissed as “conclusory” Fusion GPS’ assertion that its work for political clients would be chilled if the information the House panel demanded was provided to it.
“While the opposition research Fusion conducted on behalf of its clients may have been political in nature, Fusion’s commercial relationship with those clients was not, and thus that relationship does not provide Fusion with some special First Amendment protection from subpoenas,” wrote Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “To recast a line from the great Justice Robert H. Jackson, the First Amendment is not a secrecy pact!”
A spokeswoman for Fusion GPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the firm planned to try to stay the ruling pending an appeal. Such a move would need to come quickly since the House panel demanded the records from Fusion’s bank, which is now under a legal obligation to turn them over.
Despite the legal fight that Leon ruled on Thursday, some of Fusion’s most prominent clients have already been identified.
In October, as the House panel pressed for the financial records, Washington law firm Perkins Coie confirmed that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid to produce the dossier. A conservative website, The Washington Free Beacon, and its benefactor, Paul Singer, acknowledged paying Fusion earlier in the campaign season to develop negative information about Trump.
Financial records related to the dossier and to Fusion’s work for a law firm representing a Russian bank, Prevezon, were turned over to the panel several weeks ago. However, the committee is pressing for additional information on Fusion’s dealings with other law firms, as well as vendors and a media company.
Leon also said there was nothing improper about the panel’s seeking to explore how journalists obtained copies of, or information from, the so-called dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
“The Committee also has intelligence suggesting that Fusion directed Steele to meet with at least five major media outlets to discuss his work on the Trump Dossier,” Leon wrote. “It is thus reasonable for the Committee to pursue records containing Fusion’s transactions with various media companies and journalists to determine whether they, too, had involvement with the Trump Dossier or with Russian active measures directed at the 2016 Presidential election.”
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