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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND IN RE: LETTER REQUEST OF s THE DAILY CALLER NEWS = MISC. NO. 18-3122-SAG FOUNDATION TO UNSEAL * SEARCH WARRANT OF is ‘A PREMISES LOCATED IN * UNION BRIDGE, MD * RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO LETTER REQUEST TO UNSEAL, ;EARCH WARRANT AND. [ATERIALS The United States of America, by and through its representative, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, submits this response to a letter filed in the above-captioned matter by the website, The Daily Caller, requesting that the Court unseal search warrant materials in an ongoing criminal investigation. The request should be denied. Public disclosure of any search warrant materials would seriously jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation. Continued sealing is essential in order to guard against possible tampering of witnesses and destruction of evidence, to maintain the ability of the grand jury to investigate this matter, and to prevent the disclosure of sensitive investigative techniques and methods These warrant materials reveal investigative sources, factual assumptions, and legal theories, as well as evidence that has been gathered, including through sensitive investigative methods. Facts set forth in these warrant materials reveal what has been searched and indicate what hhas not yet been searched. Making this type of information pubic while this investigation is ongoing could harm the government's ability to find additional relevant evidence. Moreover, where, as here, the facts set forth in the warrant are interwoven with sensitive investigative information, the possibility of a line-by-line redaction is not practicable. As set forth below, the Fourth Circuit has routinely held that in an ongoing investigation, these government interests prevail over the public's qualified right of access. Accordingly, the search wartant materials at issue should remain under seal until further order of the Court. BACKGROUND On November 15, 2018, the Court issued the search warrant at issue in this ease and sealed the warrant materials. On November 29, 2018, The Daily Caller, a news and opinion website, published a story purporting to describe the November 19, 2018 execution of a search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a premises located in Union Bridge, Maryland. On November 30, 2018, this Court received a letter from The Daily Caller News Foundation (“The Daily Caller”) asking the Court to unseal “the underlying documents” related to the search warrant executed at the premises. See 18-1322-SAG, ECF No. 6 (filed Nov. 30, 2018). Inits letter, The Daily Caller stated that “the documents should be unsealed in light of the ‘urgent publie interest in this matter.” The letter makes no other argument for unsealing, and cites no legal authority that would support unsealing of the warrant. LEGAL AUTHORITY “(T]he press does not have a first amendment right of access to an affidavit for a search warrant.” Baltimore Sun Co. v. Goetz, 886 F.2d 60, 65 (4th Cir. 1989). Rather, “the press and public enjoy a qualified common law right of access . . . to judicial records including affidavits supporting investigative search warrants.” Media Gen. Operations, inc. v. Buchanan, 417 F.3d 424, 429 (ath Cir. 2005) (citing Goers, 886 F.2d at 64-65) (emphasis added). “Common law rights provide the press and the public with less access than First Amendment rights.” Id. + Available at hitps:// (accessed Dec. 1, 2018). ‘The decision to grant or deny access to judicial records under the common law right is “left to the sound discretion of the trial court, a discretion to be exercised in light of the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case.” Nixon v. Warner Comme'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. $89, 599 (1978). The Fourth Circuit has held that in reviewing requests to unseal search warrants, a court may deny access to search warrant documents if sealing is “essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest." Goetz, 886 F.2d at 65-66 (quoting Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California, 464 U.S. 501, $10 (1984)). A decision to seal or grant access to warrant papers is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Goetz, 886 F.2d at 65; In re Washington Post Co., 807 F.2d 383, 390 (4th Cir. 1986). ARGUMENT 1. Sealing Is Essential to Protect the Government's Ongoing Criminal Investigation. Where, as here, a criminal investigation is ongoing, sealing is essential to maintain the integrity of the investigation and to prevent the harms that would flow from public disclosure. Media Gen. Operations, inc., 417 F.3d at 431 (“[T]he governments interest in continuing its ‘ongoing criminal investigation outweighs the petitioners’ interest in having the document opened to the press and the public. ..."); see also In re EyeCare Physicians, 100 F.3d $14, 517-19 (7th Cir. 1996) (affirming denial of motion to unseal because “disclosure of the affidavits might very likely impair the on-going criminal investigation”). Several harms would follow from unsealing the search warrant during the government's ongoing criminal investigation, as described herein and further in the government's sealed supplement, First, unsealing would expose details of the government’s investigation and impact the government’s ability to secure charges in this matter. “[T]he identity of unnamed subjects not yet charged would be revealed; there may be mistaken notions conceming . . . who may be