Legal Ethics

Federal Judge Accuses US of ‘Blatantly False’ Representations in Muslim Documents Case

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A California federal judge has denied a request by Muslim groups to see additional records of FBI surveillance, but not before chastising the government for “blatantly false” representations.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney said the government had misled the courts about the existence of the materials, the Associated Press reports. The Muslim groups were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in the freedom of information case.

“The government’s representations were then, and remain today, blatantly false,” Carney wrote. “The government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the court.” He refused to release the records, however, because of national security concerns.

Carney didn’t learn of the undisclosed documents until he convened in chambers proceedings, according to a ruling (PDF) last month by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The San Francisco-based appeals court said Carney was “justifiably annoyed” over the withheld documents, but the judge could not unseal his order containing sensitive information about the documents. Carney omitted the information in a rewritten order.

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