Federal Judge to Issue ‘Tentative’ Order Signaling Partial Disclosure of George Gibney Immigration Files, As Both Sides Agree to Bring FOIA Case to Resolution

Published October 28th, 2016, Uncategorized

Complete headline links to our series on George Gibney are at http://concussioninc.net/?p=10942.

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

At the conclusion of a hearing lasting nearly an hour, United States District Court Senior Judge Charles Breyer said he would shortly issue a “tentative” order in which he will likely require the Department of Homeland Security to release publicly additional portions, at least, of the 20 documents from George Gibney’s immigration records that remain under dispute.

During a spirited discussion with my attorney Roy Gordet and the assistant U.S. attorney James Scharf, Judge Breyer made it clear, without tipping his conclusions, that he has serious reservations regarding some of the privacy exemptions that continue to be claimed in this Freedom of Information Act case. The judge said he will forward to the government highlighted sections or entire documents that he believes should be disclosed, and will harden his tentative order into a fully enforceable one only if the two sides remain at an impasse over particular details. Counsel agreed that this will be a good penultimate step.

I hesitate to report on or characterize the court’s remarks throughout the hearing, for I do not want to compromise the order that is forthcoming and I do not want to substitute my interpretation of them for the simple and full-context publication of the transcript (which I hope to do shortly). However, it was clear that Breyer understood the pertinent history and controversy over the sex crime allegations against Gibney. And it was especially clear that the circumstances and disposition of Gibney’s 2010 U.S. citizenship application could have considerable impact on the judge’s upcoming decision with respect to exactly what will be revealed.

Four law student observers — three from the University of California-Berkeley and one from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco — were in attendance. Early in the hearing, Judge Breyer invited me up to sit at the counsel table with Gordet, and later thanked me for my role in bringing legitimate public curiosity over the Gibney matter to this head. I greatly appreciated both gestures as we await what the court now will order the government to produce.