Three members of the United States Attorney's Office have sent a letter to the trial judge, in the Richard Chichakli case, asking the Court to enter a Protective Order restricting the defendant's public diusclosure of recordings and transcripts, bank records, and other documents, and to the contents of Viktor Bout's laptop computer, which was seized from him in Thailand, at the time of his arrest in March 2008. Apparently, some of the contents of Bout's laptop were admitted as exhibits during his criminal trial, and became part of the public record, but there is other information, being disclosed to Chichakli and his attorneys, pursuant to Rule 16, Fed. R. Crim. P. before trial.
If you have not seen these websites, Chichakli has disclosed a large amount of information about Bout on the Internet, in the past, including details of a Federal civil suit he filed against Adam Szubin, as head of OFAC. The Government has asked the Court to limit Chichakli's additional disclosure of information from the Bout laptop to what was included in three specific previous disclosures already in the public domain.
Though there is no written order responding to this letter, the court docket indicates that it was endorsed by the Court. The notes indicate:
(1) The application for a Protective Order, was denied, but the Government was "directed to include an exception for documents that are in the public domain, without regard to who placed them there." The Court declined to enter such a restrictive Protective Order, unless the restriction placed upon Chichakli, that he was limited to those three specific examples from which he could draw evidence, was eliminated, in favor of an exception for any documents in the public domain, regardless of who posted them.
(2) "The Government is directed to provide a further explanation regarding the necessity of including in the Protective Order documents relating to Chichakli's inclusion in the SDN* list."
Was the Court tactfully saying that the Government went too far in its request m? It is hard to say, but we will look closely at any amended request that follows.
The questions I have:
(A) What is there on Viktor Bout's laptop computer that the Government does not want to be publicly disclosed by Chichakli ? Remember Bout's Russian attorneys are claiming he was the victim of Entrapment, but is there something else ?
(B) Is the anything in the Rule 16 Discovery that might indicate that the now-known DEA use of NSA or CIA surveillance assets occurred, either in the Bout, or Chichakli, cases ?
Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. Chichakli was sanctioned by OFAC in 2005.