In the face of the incoming, regressive Trump administration, Obama DOJ still resists compliance with FOIA

By LOUIS FLORES

Invoking the possibility that "a regressive administration" would one day "come into power over the Federal Government," forcing activists to face prosecution over their protests for progress and for reform, the publisher of Progress Queens asked the Hon. U.S. District Court Judge Joan Azrack to exercise the Court's discretion to compel the U.S. Department of Justice to comply with the Nation's Freedom of Information Act.

The publisher of Progress Queens made the request in a Letter Reply filed with Federal Court after the Nation's top law enforcement agency had filed a Response to Plaintiff's Objection to a Report and Recommendation filed by the Court's chief magistrate judge. In 2015, the publisher of Progress Queens filed a lawsuit, seeking from the DOJ records about the prosecution of activists. The complaint that initiated the lawsuit noted that the DOJ never provided a response to the subject FOIA request, which was made in 2013. In filings with the Court, the publisher of Progress Queens has made a showing that the DOJ refuses to comply with FOIA until it is so ordered by a Court and that the DOJ has a pattern and practise of forcing individuals, who file FOIA requests, to commence litigation in order to compel the DOJ to comply with FOIA.

In Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Objection, which was filed last week, the DOJ made what the publisher of Progress Queens described as a misrepresentation when the DOJ wrongly claimed that the Hon. Chief Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann did not resolve all ambiguities "against Plaintiff." In Plaintiff's Letter Reply, the publisher of Progress Queens noted that "there was no instance in the Report and Recommendation -- not even once -- when the Chief Magistrate Judge resolved any ambiguity" against the nonmoving party, as is common during dispositive motion practise. The Report and Recommendation was filed by the Hon. Chief Magistrate Judge Mann, proposing that the Court dismiss the FOIA litigation, despite protestations made by the publisher of Progress Queens that showed that records exist and likely exist that the DOJ has not disclosed and that the DOJ has been engaging in misconduct during the proceedings before the Court. The publisher of Progress Queens filed a motion, seeking sanctions against the DOJ.

The DOJ has been being represented in the litigation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rukhsanah Singh from the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's eastern district. For unknown reasons, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Mahoney filed the DOJ's Response to Plaintiff's Objection to the Chief Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.

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