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Huntley Prosecution

Huntley Prosecution

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Published by Jon Campbell

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Published by: Jon Campbell on May 07, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney Eastern District of New York 
271 Cadman Plaza East 
 Brooklyn, New York 11201
May 7, 2013
The Honorable Jack B. WeinsteinUnited States District JudgeEastern District of New York225 Cadman Plaza EastBrooklyn, New York 11201Re:United States v. Shirley HuntleyCriminal Docket No. 12-54 (JBW)Dear Judge Weinstein:The government respectfully submits this letter inconnection with the application of May 6, 2013 by members of themedia to unseal the May 1, 2013 sentencing letter filed by thedefendant Shirley Huntley (“the May 1 Letter”). As noted in thegovernment’s sentencing letter filed publicly on May 3, 2013 (the“May 3 Public Letter”), the defendant recorded conversations withnine individuals at the direction of law enforcement authoritiesduring the summer of 2012. For the reasons set forth below, thegovernment respectfully submits that the identities of the nineindividuals whose conversations Huntley recorded should remainunder seal.I. OverviewThe government has also filed today, with the consentof defense counsel, a letter ex parte and under seal (the “ExParte Letter”) setting forth the status of the government’sinvestigation with respect to each of these nine individuals. Asexplained in more detail in the Ex Parte Letter, eight of thesenine individuals remain the subjects of ongoing criminalinvestigations. The remaining three individuals are not subjectsof any ongoing law enforcement investigation of which this Officeis aware.II. The Eight Individuals Who Are Under InvestigationThe defendant recorded meetings with eight individualswho remain under investigation and have not been publicly
Case 1:13-cr-00054-JBW Document 20 Filed 05/07/13 Page 1 of 4 PageID #: 174
2identified. For reasons set forth in the Ex Parte Letter, andthat their names should be redacted from any public filing ofpage 8 of the May 1 Letter. See United States v. Amodeo, 44 F.3d141, 147 (2d Cir. 1995) (need to protect the integrity of anongoing investigation, including the safety of witnesses and lawenforcement personnel, and to prevent interference, flight andother obstruction, may be compelling reason justifying sealing).Huntley’s recordings of three of these eightindividuals yielded evidence useful to law enforcementauthorities, and the details of these recordings are provided tothe Court in a third letter filed by the government today, whichwas filed under seal and copied to Huntley’s counsel (the “SealedLetter”). Huntley’s recordings of one other individual, who isnot one of the eight that are the subjects of ongoinginvestigations, also yielded evidence useful to law enforcementauthorities, and the details of those conversations are alsoprovided to the Court in the Sealed Letter. Any ongoinginvestigation of this last individual would not be affected bythat individual being publicly named, but for reasons set forthin the Sealed Letter, the government’s submits that thisindividual’s name should also remain sealed at this time.III. The Individual Who Is Not Under InvestigationThe other individual whose conversations with thedefendant were recorded (the “Other Individual”) is not a subjectof any criminal investigation of which this office is aware.Indeed, the government currently has no basis to believe that theOther Individual has engaged in any criminal wrongdoing. Whilethe disclosure of the identity of the Other Individual would not,therefore, undermine any ongoing investigation, the governmentnonetheless respectfully submits that the name of the OtherIndividual should not be publicly disclosed. In this regard, thegovernment submits that the privacy interests of the OtherIndividual, as an innocent third party, outweighs the presumptiveright of the public to access an unredacted version of the May 1Letter that includes the Other Individual’s name.
The government notes that at the May 6, 2013 hearing,
members of the press proposed that a relevant consideration forthe Court in this matter should be whether there have beenpublished reports about investigations into any of the listedindividuals. The government disagrees with that proposition,because reports published in the press, without confirmation byany investigating agency, generally do not have the same effecton the behavior of a target of an investigation. The standard
Case 1:13-cr-00054-JBW Document 20 Filed 05/07/13 Page 2 of 4 PageID #: 175
3First, any public interest in the name of the OtherIndividual that was created by its inclusion in the May 1 Letteris slight. Its relevance to the defendant’s sentencing lies notin the Other Individual’s identity but in the fact that thedefendant attempted to assist the government by making recordingsof the Other Individual, to determine whether he or she hadparticipated in or would participate in criminal wrongdoing, orhad witnessed such wrongdoing. The May 3 Public Letter hasalready made known to the public that the defendant maderecordings of nine individuals at the government’s direction, sorevealing the identities of the Other Individual to the publicadds nothing to the public’s understanding of the factorsrelevant to the defendant’s sentencing.Second, courts have recognized that privacy interestscan outweigh the public’s interest in the public filing ofjudicial documents such as the May 1 Letter. See Amodeo, 71 F.3dat 1050-51(quoting United States v. Biaggi, 828 F.2d 110, 116 (2dCir. 1987) that “[t]he privacy interests of innocent thirdparties . . . should weigh heavily in a court’s balancingequation”). In this case, the Other Individual is just that - aninnocent third partiy to the defendant’s sentencing, who has notsought redress by the Court and is not a defendant or even awitness.The Second Circuit has instructed that one factor theCourt should consider when balancing the public right of accessagainst the Other Individual’s privacy interests is “the degreeto which the subject matter has traditionally been consideredprivate rather than public.” Amodeo at 1051. In this case, theposition of the Other Individual is akin to that of subjects of agrand jury investigation, who have traditionally received theprivacy protections of the various grand jury secrecy provisionsof Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. A primarypurpose of that rule is to allow law enforcement authorities touse specific, powerful investigative techniques, whilesimultaneously safeguarding the subjects of those techniques fromthe public stigma and opprobrium, with resulting negativepersonal and professional consequences, which often result frombeing identified as merely the subject of a criminalinvestigation, even if no charges are ultimately brought. Suchstigma could be particularly damaging to an elected official forthat should apply is whether disclosure of the fact that thedefendant made recordings of a particular investigative targetwould interfere with that investigation, a standard which isoften unaffected by the existence of published news reports.
Case 1:13-cr-00054-JBW Document 20 Filed 05/07/13 Page 3 of 4 PageID #: 176

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