Skip to content

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Obama Chef Death Investigation Update

Judicial Watch Sues for Audio/Visual Recordings Related to Obama Chef’s Deathg
Judicial Watch Sues for Records of FBI Payments Referenced in ‘Twitter Files’
Most Biden Border ‘App’ Users Are Released, Including Those from ‘Hostile Nations’
‘Asking for Trouble:’ State Gives Illegal Immigrants Driver’s License that Looks Exactly like Legal Residents’

Judicial Watch Sues for Audio/Visual Recordings Related to Obama Chef’s Death

We’re still not being provided complete information about the death of the Obamas’ personal chef Tafari Campbell in July 2023 in the Edgartown Great Pond next to Obama’s sea-side estate.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA suit) against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for video recordings relating to the death (Judicial Watch Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:23-cv-03194)). We recently uncovered the existence of a Secret Service video tied to the incident in response to a separate public records request.

On August 9, 2023, we submitted a FOIA request to the Secret Service, a component of DHS, seeking copies of:

All audio/visual recordings (including dispatch calls, fixed camera footage, internal USSS communications, and communications with other law enforcement and EMS personnel), USSS emails, incident reports, witness statements, investigative reports, and all other records related to the death of Tafari Campbell on July 23-24, 2023, in the Edgartown Great Pond.

Earlier this month, we received 40 pages of records from the Massachusetts State Police that include a July 24, 2023, homicide/death report written by Mass. State Trooper Dustin Shaw, listing the details of the investigation into Campbell’s death. In the narrative portion Shaw writes:

The following is a summary of my observations of the video footage provided to me from this specific vantage point and is not intended to be an exact depiction of the overall entirety of the surveillance footage from [redacted] On Sunday, July 23, 2023, at approximately:

    • 6:54 PM; two (2) individuals identified as CAMPBELL and [redacted] are observed walking on the boardwalk from the area of the residence, toward the shoreline of Edgartown Great Pond. Both CAMPBELL’S and [redacted] appearance and clothing are consistent with prior descriptions. Once near the shoreline, it appears that CAMPBELL and [redacted] obtain paddleboards and paddles from a small alcove near the shoreline, and subsequently enter the water.
    • 7:40 PM; Secret Service Agent [redacted] (Rescue Swimmer) is observed running from his assigned post towards the shoreline of Edgartown Great Pond, utilizing his handheld radio.
    • 7:42 PM; Agent [redacted] observed running from the shoreline of Edgartown Great Pond, towards the area of the Command Post.
    • 7:43 PM; Agent [redacted] observed running back to shoreline of Edgartown Great Pond.
    • 7:50 PM; USSS boat launches
    • 7:57 PM; USSS vehicle/first responder vehicle arrives to the area of the shoreline of Edgartown Great Pond.
    • 7:58 PM; First Edgartown Police vehicle arrives to the area of the shoreline.
    • 7:59 PM; Second Edgartown Police vehicle arrives to the area of the shoreline.

A request has been made to obtain a copy of the above-described video and is pending its release as of the time of this report.

The records also indicate the presence of Barack Obama for a witness interview in the death investigation. The records, which are heavily redacted, indicate Barack Obama arrived at the emergency response scene via motorcade. A short time later, a cold, wet woman, who was a witness, arrived. The next morning, the eyewitness was interviewed in the Obama residence, seemingly with Barack Obama again present. The State Police records show authorities concluded “no foul play” in Campbell’s “accidental” death.

(On October 24, 2023, the Daily Mail obtained the initial 911 call as well as a follow-up call made by Barack Obama’s Secret Service agents after chef Tafari Campbell fell off a paddle board into the Edgartown Great Pond on Martha’s Vineyard.)

In August 2023, we released records from the Edgarton, Mass., Police Department that showed the Secret Service reported Obama’s Personal Chef Tafari Campbell missing and that the body was found using sonar. The records also detail that clothing was found separate from the body and that he was not wearing a life vest.

But is the Secret Service hiding the video that can provide the public more information about the death of Barack Obama’s personal chef? The Secret Service’s involvement in this death investigation had been treated like a state secret until we uncovered it. Strange.

Judicial Watch Sues for Records of FBI Payments Referenced in ‘Twitter Files’

The First Amendment is in “first place” in the amendments to the U.S. Constitution because of the importance of free speech for the functioning of our republic. So, the Biden administration’s many efforts to control what Americans say and think are blatantly unconstitutional and wide-ranging – and expensive!

We just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice for records of any payments made by the FBI to Twitter (now known as X) (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:23-cv-03004)). The payments were disclosed in internal Twitter documents (the “Twitter Files”) made available by Elon Musk to journalists.

In a December 19, 2022, report on “Twitter Files,” independent journalist Michael Shellenberger revealed an email which states the FBI paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million of U.S. taxpayer money as “reimbursement for the time spent processing requests from the FBI” from October 2019 to February 2021.

We sued after the FBI failed to respond adequately to a December 24, 2022, FOIA request for:

All records documenting any payments made to Twitter, Inc. and/or any employee thereof by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, all related purchase orders, expense requests and approvals, and similar records.

All contracts or similar records documenting the purpose or basis of any payment described in part one of this request.

In a January 30, 2023, letter, the FBI claimed that it could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of records responsive to your request pursuant to FOIA Exemption (b)(7)(E),” which refers to investigation techniques.

In his December 19, 2022, report, Shellenberger revealed an email dated February 10, 2021, in which an unidentified Twitter employee tells then-Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker and then-General Counsel Sean Edgett that “we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!”

The email explains that Twitter’s Safety, Content & Law Enforcement (SCALE) division instituted a “reimbursement program” in exchange for devoting staff hours to “processing requests from the FBI.”

Baker and Edgett were fired after Elon Musk bought the social media platform in October 2022. (Prior to joining Twitter, Baker had been the FBI’s top lawyer under James Comey.)

The notorious relationship between the FBI and Twitter includes millions in taxpayer cash. The Justice Department’s and FBI’s cover-up of this collusion shows they have something to hide.

We have just produced a four-part documentary, “Censored and Controlled,” that details the coordinated effort by the FBI and other government agencies and Big Tech to censor and suppress information on topics such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, COVID-19, and election debates.

And we have been in the forefront of uncovering government efforts to censor free speech and suppress opposition to its unconstitutional actions, including the U.S. Government’s dissemination of its own disinformation. For a deeper dive into the issue, here are some of the key lawsuits and disclosures about the dire threat to free speech in America:

Recently, we sued the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for records concerning censorship of social media users.

In April 2023, we filed two lawsuits against the Department of Justice and other federal agencies for communications between the agencies and Facebook and Twitter regarding the government’s involvement in content moderation and censorship on the social media platforms.

In June 2023, we sued DHS for all records of communications tied to the Election Integrity Partnership. Based on representations from the EIP (see here and here), the federal government, social media companies, the EIP, the Center for Internet Security (a non-profit organization funded partly by DHS and the Defense Department) and numerous other leftist groups communicated privately via the Jira software platform developed by Atlassian.

In February 2023, we sued the U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) for records showing cooperation between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) and social media platforms to censor and suppress free speech.

In January 2023 we sued the DOJ for records of communications between the FBI and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In September 2022, we sued the Secretary of State of the State of California for having YouTube censor a Judicial Watch election integrity video.

In May 2022, YouTube censored our video about Biden corruption and election integrity issues in the 2020 election. The video, titled “Impeach? Biden Corruption Threatens National Security,” was falsely determined to be “election misinformation” and removed by YouTube, and our YouTube account was suspended for a week. Judicial Watch continues to post its video content on its Rumble channel (

In July 2021, we uncovered records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the COVID narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising was given to the CDC by social media companies.

In May 2021, we revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In April 2021, we published documents revealing how California state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election.

Most Biden Border ‘App’ Users Are Released, Including Those from ‘Hostile Nations’

The Biden administration developed a computer “app” to let illegals into the country indiscriminately. This includes Russians, Chinese, Yemenis, Afghans, Lebanese, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Iranians and Uzbeks. Our Corruption Chronicles blog explains:

The situation along the Mexican border is worse than ever with yet another record-breaking year for illegal immigration that ended fiscal 2023 with an appalling 2.48 million migrants, surpassing what was previously a historical high of 2.38 million in 2022. In September, the last month of the fiscal year, federal agents encountered a whopping 269,735 illegal aliens constituting an all-time high for a single month and a substantial increase over August when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 232,963 migrants. In an apparent effort to bury the magnitude of the border crisis, the Biden administration released the year-end statistics during the weekend and the ghastly figures have predictably received anemic media coverage. So has a troublesome congressional report, issued two days later, outlining how the Biden administration frees the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens who use its CBP One App inside the country, including those from “hostile nations.”

 The new year-end CBP data shows that the Tucson sector in Arizona saw an unprecedented 109% spike in illegal immigrants during the last month of the fiscal year compared to August and a total 48% increase for 2023, from 251,984 last year to 373,625. The El Paso crossing in Texas had a 39% boost in illegal immigration compared to last year with 427,471 crossings compared to 307,844 in 2022. Texas sectors located south of El Paso also experienced large numbers of illegal immigrants, with Del Rio recording 393,226 and Rio Grande Valley 338,337. California got bombarded as well with a 31% hike in illegal aliens in San Diego and a 30% rise in El Centro. In what may seem like a bad joke, CBP, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 60,000-employee “unified border entity,” writes this in the announcement accompanying the 2023 figures: “DHS continues to enforce United States immigration laws while strengthening the consequences for those who cross our border unlawfully.”

The 2023 stats include a section on the CBP One mobile application that is also laughable because it describes it as a key component of DHS’s efforts to incentivize lawful, safe and orderly pathways into the U.S. since it was introduced by the Biden administration in January. The app lets over 1,400 foreigners make appointments daily to access ports of entry where federal agents determine admissibility. Through the end of September nearly 278,000 individuals have successfully scheduled appointments to present at a U.S. port of entry, according to the newly released records. “CBP is continually monitoring and evaluating the application to ensure its functionality and guard against bad actors,” the agency writes in the document accompanying the fresh batch of stats.

The reality is that DHS’s expanded use of the CBP One app has led to the release of hundreds of thousands of otherwise inadmissible illegal immigrants into the United States, records obtained by a congressional panel show. Of the inadmissible aliens who scheduled appointments through the controversial app 95.8% (278,431) were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) and released into the country on parole, according to the information made public this week by the House Committee on Homeland Security. This includes individuals from “countries of concern” that made appointments through the app and were overwhelmingly released into the U.S. Among them are Russians, Chinese, Yemenis, Afghans, Lebanese, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Iranians and Uzbeks. Nearly all the Russian, Afghan, Chinese and Iranian nationals who made CBP One appointments were released in the U.S., according to the records. Most of the Latin Americans were also freed into the country, including illegal immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela that used the app. “At a time when global tensions are rising, and our enemies are growing bolder, releasing tens of thousands of these people into our communities—especially when they have not received adequate, if any, vetting—is irresponsible,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, an emergency room physician from Tennessee.

‘Asking for Trouble:’ State Gives Illegal Immigrants Driver’s License that Looks Exactly like Legal Residents’

Our border crisis is made worse by left-wing state and local governments that reward and protect illegal aliens. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the latest.

This month Minnesota became the latest state to allow illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license as part of a burgeoning national trend to reward undocumented residents with government benefits. In all, 19 states and the District of Columbia have passed bills that permit foreigners living in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver’s licenses. Earlier this year laws went into effect in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and a few weeks ago Minnesota’s measure, known as Driver’s Licenses for All, went into effect. Officials estimate that about 80,000 illegal immigrants who were previously disqualified from obtaining the cards in the North Star state will now be allowed to get them.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington are the other states that let illegal aliens get driver’s licenses. Typically, candidates need only to present a foreign passport or birth certificate or a consular card along with evidence that they live in the state. Open border groups and their leftist allies in local governments across the nation assert that granting illegal aliens driver’s licenses benefits everyone because it makes roads safer, therefore improving public safety. In New York City, officials cite unspecified “data” that shows expanding driver’s license eligibility to illegal immigrants improves road safety and lowers insurance premiums for all. Besides “making our roads safer,” Illinois’ governor says giving illegal aliens licenses decreases stigma and creates a more equitable system for all.

Minnesota officials used similar narratives to push through their legislation. The governor, Tim Walz, said ensuring that drivers are licensed and carry insurance makes the roads more secure for all Minnesotans. “As a longtime supporter of this bill, I am proud to finally sign it into law, making our roads safer and moving us toward our goal of making Minnesota the best state to raise a family for everyone,” the Democrat lawmaker said in a statement when he proudly signed the measure earlier this year. The state’s lieutenant governor explained that the new law makes sure children and families “can come out of the shadows” and that all residents have opportunities to thrive, succeed, grow, and live their fullest lives. “From picking a child up from school to driving to a doctor’s appointment, driver’s licenses help us safely access essential services and navigate our lives,” the lieutenant governor, Penny Flanagan, said.

Under the new law Minnesota’s Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) is prohibited from asking driver’s license applicants about immigration status or from placing any special identifier on the card indicating immigration status. The state agency is also banned from providing information to federal authorities for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement. Additionally, Minnesota is taking extra steps to assist illegal aliens obtain a license. Applicants can take the test in nine different languages and the actual exam can be given orally by a translator in the person’s native language to assist those who have difficulty comprehending the written test or who may be illiterate. Driving manuals are also available in multiple languages as well as interpreters to guide foreigners through the road skills test. It is not clear how much the extra services will cost taxpayers.

It is important to note that earlier this year Minnesota enacted a law that provides automatic voter registration for those who apply for a driver’s license, even though the law requires U.S. citizenship to vote. Granting illegal immigrants driver’s licenses inevitably creates the risk that they may vote in an election since the state will not distinguish between the cards issued to legal residents, American citizens or illegal aliens. At least one state lawmaker finds this concerning and points out that “allowing an undocumented immigrant to acquire a driver’s license that looks exactly like a license used by a legal Minnesota resident is asking for trouble.” Republican House Member John Petersburg says there are no safeguards in the new law, which means the potential is high for voting and state program abuse.

Until next week,