Court Orders Obama Justice Department to Justify Some of Its Withholdings on Black Panther Scandal

Judicial Watch

Washington, DC — August 11, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that a federal court rejected a claim of the attorney work product doctrine by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for documents prepared after the government dismissed its case against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense on May 15, 2009, and ordered the agency to provide better justification for withholding those documents related to the aftermath of its decision to drop its complaint against several members of the New Black Panther Party who were accused of engaging in voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential campaign. The ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice, No. 10-851(RBW)).

In his August 4, 2011, decision, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected the Obama Justice Department’s arguments that documents prepared after the government dismissed its case (against the New Black Panther Party on May 15, 2009) could be withheld under the “attorney work product privilege” exemption. Judge Walton explained:

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