D.C. Circuit Orders More Mueller Report Disclosures in EPIC v. DOJ Appeal
November 30, 2021
The D.C. Circuit, ruling in an appeal from EPIC v. DOJ, has ordered the Department of Justice to disclose new material from the Mueller Report. The appeal was brought by Jason Leopold and BuzzFeed, whose Freedom of Information Act suit for the Mueller Report was consolidated with EPIC’s case in the lower court. Leopold and BuzzFeed challenged the lower court’s determination that the DOJ could withhold information about individuals investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller but not charged with a crime. The D.C. Circuit affirmed part of the lower court’s ruling but held that the DOJ must release several passages of the Report about individuals investigated for campaign finance violations, as those sections “would show only government decisionmaking, not new private information.” As a result of EPIC’s 2019 lawsuit for the Mueller Report, the Justice Department was forced on three occasions to disclose portions of the Report that it initially withheld from the public. Judge Reggie B. Walton conducted an in camera review of the unredacted Report before ruling in the case—a step that Walton deemed necessary after determining that Attorney General Bill Barr’s redactions to the Report may have been “self-serving.” EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act case—the first in the nation for the disclosure of the Mueller Report—was captioned EPIC v. DOJ, No. 19-810.