Progress Queens appeals DOJ's constructive denial of FOIA request for Preet Bharara's speeches

By LOUIS FLORES

The publisher of Progress Queens has appealed adverse determinations made by the U.S. Department of Justice in respect of an open records request filed with the agency by Progress Queens.

In April 2016, the publisher of Progress Queens filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for copies of records regarding the speeches given by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

After the nation's top law enforcement agency determined that the request submitted by the publisher of Progress Queens would qualify for a fee waiver, the DOJ later refused to grant a fee waiver.  Furthermore, the agency denied a request made by Progress Queens for expedited processing of the open records request.

The appeal was triggered after the DOJ demanded payment of over $1,000 before it would begin to produce responsive records. The appeal notified the agency that if the DOJ failed to reverse its determination not to grant the fee waiver and if the agency failed to begin to produce responsive records, the publisher of Progress Queens would initiate litigation to obtain the responsive records.

Separately, Progress Queens made a request to a representative of the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district to resolve the open records request without having to resort to litigation.

The publisher of Progress Queens previously attempted to settle the open records request with counsel for the DOJ, but the DOJ rejected the settlement offer.

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