CLBR #189 Featured Segment: Popehat Returns to Talk About Reason Gag Order



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POPEHAT RETURNS On June 8th, Popehat broke the following story:

The United States Department of Justice is using federal grand jury subpoenas to identify anonymous commenters engaged in typical internet bluster and hyperbole in connection with the Silk Road prosecution. DOJ is targeting, a leading libertarian website whose clever writing is eclipsed only by the blowhard stupidity of its commenting peanut gallery.

Why is the government using its vast power to identify these obnoxious asshats, and not the other tens of thousands who plague the internet?

Because these twerps mouthed off about a judge.

A week later, he reported:

I reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Niketh Velamoor indicated that he “believed” that there was a gag order prohibiting from disclosing the existence of the subpoena. I expressed skepticism about that claim because Mr. Velamoor had just two days before signed a letter telling that the Department of Justice asked, but did not require, that the subpoena be kept secret.

Since then, additional factors lead me to believe that there is, in fact, an under-seal gag order purporting to prohibit from disclosing or discussing the grand jury subpoena.

About Ken White

Ken White is a partner at Brown White & Osborn LLP in Los Angeles.  He practices criminal defense and civil litigation, focusing on First Amendment issues.  As his blog Popehat, he writes about free speech and criminal justice issues.

About Popehat

Established in April 2004, Popehat is a group blog founded by members of the forum at a now sadly defunct gaming website known as Gone Gold. Since its founding, the site has suffered from both benign and malevolent neglect. Its contributors have numbered from only one to as many as eight, depending on interest and free time.  Among the few constants during the years of Popehat’s existence have been its founder, Ken White, and his associate blogger Ezra.

Tw: @popehat