Brooklyn federal magistrate judge rules against public learning about government prosecution of activists

Order is seen as a setback to obtaining records from the DOJ about the government's treatment of activists' constitutional and civil rights


In a memorandum issued Monday, the Hon. Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann wrote an order benefitting the U.S. Department of Justice, or the DOJ, in a federal lawsuit seeking records about the government's prosecution of activists.

The defendant, the DOJ, had summarily shut down any attempt to disclose records being sought by Progress Queens under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.  The DOJ has been represented in the federal lawsuit by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rukhsanah Singh, who, although nominally being a public servant, has, instead, in the subject lawsuit, been diligently working to enable the DOJ to continue its pattern and practise of violating FOIA with impunity.  When Assistant U.S. Attorney Singh was written to by the plaintiff about her work that would appear to violate the public trust, the DOJ's counsel would not address the issue and denied any attempt at scheduling a conference call with the plaintiff in the time leading up to the issuance of the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mann's order.

Prior to the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mann's issuance of the order, the parties had to file a joint status report.  Although the plaintiff, the publisher of Progress Queens, had been seeking additional time to resolve many outstanding due diligence issues with the DOJ, the defendant opposed the plaintiff's request.  Unfortunately, the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mann's order sided with the DOJ. 

"Contrary to plaintiff's suggestion, any dispute about the adequacy of defendant's production of documents should now be litigated in the context of a dispositive motion addressed to the District Court, not as a discovery dispute before the undersigned magistrate judge," the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mann wrote, in part, in her order.

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