DC Circuit upholds mystery grand jury subpoena

An unnamed corporation owned by a foreign government cannot avoid a grand jury subpoena, according to a court decision on Tuesday. 

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the subpoena of a mystery witness in a sealed case that earlier this year stirred speculation about possible ties to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s Russia investigation. 


According to the decision, an unnamed corporation owned by a foreign country, known only in the opinion as “Country A,” tried to quash the subpoena, arguing it was immune from criminal proceedings under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and that the subpoena is unenforceable because it would require “the Corporation” to violate “Country A’s” domestic law.

The district court denied the motion and the D.C. Circuit affirmed that denial.

In a unanimous ruling, Judges David Tatel, Thomas Griffith and Stephen Williams said they agree the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not immunize the corporation from this subpoena.

The case has drawn widespread speculation that it may stem from a grand jury subpoena issued as a result of Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow.

The connection is not clear, but the case mimics an ongoing legal fight with an associate of longtime Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet Michael Cohen on Giuliani's legal fees: He won't get 'two cents' from Trump Cohen on Giuliani: 'Chickens coming home to roost' MORE, Andrew Miller, who is resisting a subpoena to testify before Mueller’s grand jury in D.C. by challenging Mueller's authority.

Politico first reported on the case’s apparent links to Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference back in October.

The D.C. circuit heard arguments on Friday in a sealed hearing. Court security guards cleared the fifth floor of the courthouse and staircases of all press. Reporters from varying outlets teamed up to watch the exits of the building in hopes of getting a glimpse of the attorneys involved, but were unsuccessful.