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Judicial Watch • JW v DOJ Strzok Ohr complaint 01082

JW v DOJ Strzok Ohr complaint 01082

JW v DOJ Strzok Ohr complaint 01082

Page 1: JW v DOJ Strzok Ohr complaint 01082

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Number of Pages:5

Date Created:April 23, 2019

Date Uploaded to the Library:April 23, 2019

Tags:01082, OCDETF, Ohr, Strzok, FBI, DOJ, FOIA


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Case 1:19-cv-01082 Document Filed 04/17/19 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street, S.W., Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE,
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, 20530-0001,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. (Plaintiff) brings this action against the U.S. Department Justice (Defendant DOJ) compel compliance with the Freedom Information Act, U.S .C. 552. grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)( 4)(B)
and U.S.C. 1331.
Venue proper this district pursuant U.S.C. 1391(e).
PARTIES
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. not-for-profit, educational organization
incorporated under the laws the District Columbia and headquartered 425 Third Street
SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024. Plaintiff seeks promote transparency, accountability,
and integrity government and fidelity the rule oflaw. part its mission, Plaintiff
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant the Freedom Information Act
Case 1:19-cv-01082 Document Filed 04/17/19 Page
(FOIA). Plaintiff analyzes the responses and disseminates its findings and the requested
records the American public inform them about what their government to.
Defendant agency the United States Government. Defendant has
possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access. Defendant
headquartered 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, 20530-0001.
STATEMENT FACTS
This lawsuit arises out two FOIA requests Plaintiff submitted the DOJ and
the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI), component the DOJ. July 20, 2018, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the FBI, via certified
mail, seeking access the following records:
All records communication between FBI official Peter Strzok
and, Bruce Ohr, either his role Associate Deputy Attorney
General Director the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement
Task Force, including but not limited emails (whether .gov non-.gov email accounts, and whether using their real names aliases), text messages, encrypted app messages and/or instant
chats.
The time frame for the requested records January 2016
the present. letter dated August 2018, the FBI acknowledged receipt Plaintiffs
request and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned FOIP Request No. 1412725000. Plaintiff has not received any other communications from the FBI response Plaintiffs
request.
Also July 20, 2018, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the DOJ, via
certified mail, seeking access the following records:
All records communication between Bruce Ohr, either
his role Associate Deputy Attorney General Director
the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and FBI
official Peter Strzok, including but not limited emails (whether .gov non-.gov email accounts, and whether using their real
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Case 1:19-cv-01082 Document Filed 04/17/19 Page
names aliases), text messages, encrypted app messages and/or
instant chats.
The time frame for the requested records January 2016
the present. letter dated August 2018, the DOJ acknowledged receipt Plaintiffs FOIA
request and referred three DOJ components the Executive Office for Organized Crime
Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Office Information Policy (OIP), and the FBI.
10. letter dated September 13, 2018, the OCDETF reported that had conducted
search and located records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA request.
11. December 2018, Plaintiff submitted appeal the DOJ, via certified
mail, challenging the OCDETFs determination that possessed records responsive
Plaintiffs FOIA request.
12. April 2019, via email, the DOJ affirmed the OCDETFs determination.
13.
The DOJ did not provide substantive response from any the other
components (OIP and FBI) the DOJ. Plaintiff also did not receive responses directly from
OIP FBI.
14.
Pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i), the FBI was required comply with
Plaintiffs request twenty (20) working days after its receipt the request and notify Plaintiff
immediately its determination, the records thereof, and the right appeal any adverse
determination. Pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i)(ii), the DOJ was required comply with
Plaintiffs request thirty (30) working days after its receipt the request and notify Plaintiff
immediately its determination, the records thereof, and the right appeal any adverse
determination.
15. the date this Complaint, the FBI and the DOJ have failed to: (i) produce
the requested records demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from
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Case 1:19-cv-01082 Document Filed 04/17/19 Page
production; (ii) notify Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendant intends
produce withhold and the reasons for any ,vithholdings; and/or (iii) infom1 Plaintiff that may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse detennination.
COUNTI
(Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552)
16.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
17.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed DefendanCs violation FOIA, and
Plaintiff will continue irreparably ham1ed unless Defendant compelled comply with
FOIA.
18. trigger FOIAs administrative exhaustion requirement, the FBI and the DOJ
were required make final detenninations Plaintiffs FOIA requests within the time limit set FOIA. Accordingly, the FBIs detennination was due September 2018 and the DO.Ts
determination was due August 30, 2018. this date, the FBI and DOJ were required to:
(i) gather and review the requested documents; (ii) detennine and communicate Plaintiff the
scope any responsive records Defendant intended produce ,vithhold and the reasons for
any withholdings; and (iii) inform Plaintiff that may appeal any adequately specific, adverse
detem1ination. See, e.g., Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics TVashington Federal
Election Commission, 711 F.3d 180, 188-89 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
19.
Because the FBI and the DOJ failed make final determination Plaintif:f
FOIA requests within the time limit set FOIA, Plaintiff deemed have exhausted its
administrative appeal remedies. U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)(i).
The DOI referred Plaintiffs FOIA request three components the Executive Office for Organized
Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Office Information Policy (OIP), and the FBI. Only
OCEDETF made final determination, which Plaintiff unsuccessfully appealed. Because the other two components
did not respond, OCEDETFs determination not final determination the agency, DOI.
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Case 1:19-cv-01082 Document Filed 04/17/19 Page
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Comi: (1) order Defendant
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests; (2) order Defendant produce, date ce1iain, any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests and T,aughn indices m1y responsive
records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold
any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA requests; (4) grant Plaintiff
award attorneys fees cmd other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant
U.S.C. 552(a)( 4)(E)(5) cmd gnmt Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: April 17, 2019
Respectfully submitted,
is/ Ramona otca
Ramona Cotca (D.C. Bar No. 501159)
JUDICIAL },lATCH. INC.
Counsel for laintzff
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