Special counsel Robert Mueller and his deputy Andrew Weissmann filed a three-page notice on Monday arguing that Alex Van Der Zwaan should not be allowed to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests related to the ongoing Russia investigation.
As the notice points out, Van Der Zwaan originally agreed to waive his rights to “request or receive” such records from the government during his plea agreement. In the notice, Mueller claims his legal arguments are being filed because the court “drew attention” to a similar waiver agreement during Richard Gates‘ recent arraignment.
That’s likely true, but it strains credulity to think there’s not at least something else going on behind the scenes here. One plausible scenario: Van Der Zwaan’s attorneys have signaled their intent to challenge the government’s FOIA waiver because there’s not much in the way of precedent that actually binds the court to enforce the waiver.
Such waivers are generally considered enforceable, but this is a hotly contested body of law and civil libertarians–as well as defense attorneys–frequently press the issue in the U.S. court system. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the exact question, so consider this all in flux.
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