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Am. Oversight v. DOJ, No. 19-8215, 2021 WL 964220 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2021) (Schofield, J.)


Am. Oversight v. DOJ, No. 19-8215, 2021 WL 964220 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2021) (Schofield, J.)

Re:  Request for twenty-seven interview records

Disposition:  Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product Privilege:  The court holds that "[t]he twenty-seven interview records were properly withheld in full or in part under FOIA Exemption 5 because they are attorney work product prepared in anticipation of litigation."  The court relates that "[defendant] attests that these interview records were prepared in anticipation of litigation, specifically for the prosecutors to evaluate whether criminal prosecutions were warranted."  "[Defendant] further attests that in most cases the interview records were prepared by Special Agents of the FBI or the SDNY acting under the substantial direction of prosecutors and were reviewed by prosecutors, and that '[d]isclosure of the records would reveal prosecutors' selection of witnesses to interview, as well as their mental impressions, legal theories, case analysis, and strategic decisions regarding the investigation.'"  "Finally, he attests that these records were not disclosed 'in connection with any judicial or administrative proceeding[ ]' and have not 'otherwise been publicly disclosed.'"
  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  The court finds that "Plaintiff does not allege, much less produce evidence, that Defendants' declarations were written or submitted in bad faith or are otherwise unreliable."  Therefore, the court holds that "[t]he application for in camera review is denied."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product Privilege
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Updated November 9, 2021