- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Justice Department could soon release a new, less redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report could be released by the Justice Department, following a decision Wednesday by a federal judge in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled the Justice Department has failed to justify some redactions in the voluminous report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. He ordered the Justice Department to release the shielded information.

The specific redactions Judge Walton wants unsealed detail the thought process over why certain people were charged with crimes during the nearly two-year investigation.

“The court concludes that the [Justice] Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” Judge Walton wrote in a 40-page opinion.

Judge’s Walton’s ruling was in response to two lawsuits filed by BuzzFeed News and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which both sought for access to the full, unredacted Mueller report. The judge, however, would not go that far, ruling that the Justice Department could continue to shield information that would compromise law enforcement investigations or witness privacy.

“The department has appropriately withheld information relating to the unwitting third parties, the individuals not charged with having committed crimes by the special counsel’s office and individuals merely mentioned in the Mueller Report,” Judge Walton wrote.

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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