Judge surprised at feds’ slim disclosure on Mar-a-Lago visitors

POLITICO by Josh Gerstein

October 11, 2017

A federal judge indicated Wednesday that she was taken aback by how little information the government turned over in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records about President Donald Trump’s visitors at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but she turned aside a request to rule that the authorities appeared to have violated a court order.

Pro-transparency groups cried foul last month when, just before a court-ordered deadline, Justice Department lawyers did not produce a large sheaf of Secret Service records about Trump’s contacts at what he has termed the Winter White House.

Instead, the government provided only a two-page document listing 22 members of the delegation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit in February.

The watchdog groups urged Judge Katherine Failla, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, to take action against the government, but in a brief order Wednesday she declined to do so.

“Having reviewed the parties’ submissions, the Court shares Plaintiffs’ surprise with the extent of Defendants’ production; however, the Court is unable to find that Plaintiffs have set forth sufficient grounds for the Court to impose sanctions or issue an order to show cause,” Failla wrote.

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