Judicial Watch Asks Federal Court for Discovery in Lawsuit against U.S. Capitol Police for January 6 Videos
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a motion for discovery in its lawsuit against the United States Capitol Police (USCP) for emails and videos concerning the disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 (Judicial Watch v. United States Capitol Police (No. 1:21-cv-00401)).
Congress exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act. Judicial Watch therefore brings this case pursuant to the common law right of access to public records. The Capitol Police declined to produce any records about the disturbance to Judicial Watch, however, arguing that the requested videos and other records are not “public records” and the public interest doesn’t warrant their release.
Judicial Watch requested the court grant it the ability to gather evidence from the US Capitol Police about the preservation and use of the January 6 videos:
This case concerns whether the public has a right of access to records about what Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has describe as “one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” “an attack on our very democracy[,]” and “an attack on the peaceful transfer of power.” Speaker Pelosi also has stated, “It is imperative that we find the truth of that day and ensure that such an assault on our Capitol and Democracy cannot ever again happen.”
To find out the truth about what took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 and to understand how Defendant United States Capitol Police and other government entities responded on that day, Plaintiff Judicial Watch requested access to certain communications and video recordings.
(Judicial Watch) therefore moves for limited discovery to seek evidence to prove that the requested records are public records subject to the common law right of access and that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs the government’s interest in keeping the records secret.
Judicial Watch initially filed the lawsuit under the common law right of access after the USCP refused to provide any records in response to a January 21, 2021 request for:
- Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
- Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021through January 10, 2021.
- All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 pm and 9 pm on January 6, 2021
“As the Pelosi House seeks the confidential phone and social media records of countless Americans concerning January 6, its U.S. Capitol Police is covering up 14,000 hours of video about what really happened that day,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The U.S. Capitol Police should be required to explain under oath its reasons for refusing to turn over even one second of January 6 video to the American people.”