Politics Judge rejects DOJ plan for contractors to create database for Capitol riot prosecutions
Biden says 'democracy did prevail' six months after Capitol riot
President Joe Biden concluded that "democracy did prevail" six months after the "disorder" of the Capitol Hill riot.Biden, certified by Congress as the winner of the 2020 election on Jan. 6 after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the proceedings, said the riot "posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive — a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.
A federal judge on Friday denied a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to share grand jury materials from investigations into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot with a contractor who was hired to organize them into a database.
The DOJ had last week that it had planned on paying Deloitte Financial Advisory Services $6.1 million to create a sweeping database organizing videos, photos, emails and other evidence federal authorities have acquired in their ongoing probe involving more than 500 individuals who have been charged in connection with the mob attack.
5 People Charged With Assaulting Police Officers With Flag Poles, Zip Ties at Capitol Riot
According to court documents, the five were identified as Jonathan Pollock, Olivia Michele Pollock, Joseph Hutchinson, Joshua Doolin and Michael Perkins. The court documents state that after reviewing U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) surveillance footage and body-worn camera footage, an FBI investigator "identified a group of individuals who appear to have moved together from the Washington Monument to the Capitol grounds on the afternoon of January 6, 2021."The FBI investigator was able to eventually identify the group of five individuals after showing pictures of them to several witnesses.
However, Beryl Howell, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said inthat the DOJ was incorrect in arguing that employees of Deloitte contracted to work on the project could be considered "government personnel," which would grant them access to the grand jury evidence.
"Deloitte, a private firm contracted by the government on a non-exclusive basis, is a private rather than a public governmental entity, and its staff are employees of the firm rather than the government," the judge wrote.
Thus, Howell argued that the secrecy provisions pertaining to grand jury rules do "not allow disclosure of grand jury matters to Deloitte and its employees."
"Further, the government has not made a sufficient showing of particularized need to warrant disclosure," she continued, adding, "Disclosure to Deloitte is therefore prohibited, and the government's motion to authorize disclosure based on one or the other of these exceptions must be denied."
Feds agree to pay $6.1M to create database for Capitol riot prosecutions
Deloitte will assemble videos, photos, social media posts and documents for use by attorneys in a slew of criminal cases.To take on the daunting task, the federal government has turned to Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, a firm prosecutors called “a litigation support vendor with extensive experience providing complex litigation technology services.
The DOJ had argued that a creation of a database would be particularly beneficial for prosecutors to meet their obligations to give defendants relevant evidence for their cases, including access to all evidence obtained from the Jan. 6 riot.
The Hill has reached out to the DOJ for comment on Friday's ruling.
On Monday, Politico reported that the DOJ was planning to share reports ofduring the Jan. 6 riot with defense attorneys, who had requested information regarding allegations that some law enforcement officers may have been "complicit in the January 6 Capitol Breach."
Democrats have raise questions on whether police were complicit in the violence at the Capitol building, during which multiple people died and dozens of others suffered mild to severe injuries.
One video from the riot reportedly showed some officers moving barricades so rioters could break through, and at least one officer was allegedly captured taking a selfie with a riot participant.
Politico said that federal authorities have gathered evidence related to more than 6,000 grand jury subpoenas, thousands of hours of security footage and millions of social media posts, along with other data.
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Special counsel John Durham's report into the Trump-Russia investigators should be submitted in a way that allows it to be released to the public when completed, the Justice Department said. © Provided by Washington Examiner Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland for answers about Durham’s inquiry.