A grand jury that worked with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in Washington is continuing to work on related matters, including an ongoing investigation of a foreign state-owned mystery company that refused to comply with a Mueller subpoena, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.
The disclosures came in a court hearing as prosecutors confirmed they continue to pursue loose threads left after Mueller submitted his report Friday to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr, marking the end of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In a summary of the report, Barr said the Mueller probe ended without further indictments, after referring several matters to other prosecutors, including the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington on Wednesday heldthe first public hearing involving the secret subpoena fight by the foreign company since it rebuffed a grand jury request last July for documents.
Brian D. Boone, a partner with the Alston & Bird law firm representing the company, said in court without elaborating that the companypreferred not to have its identity disclosed.
Howell then asked David Goodhand, senior counsel to U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District, whether the grand jury impaneled by Mueller remained active. Subpoenas and contempt proceedings related to a grand jury expire when a grand jury ends.
“It’s continuing robustly,” Goodhand said, according to a transcript of the hearing, held to consider a request by lawyers from the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press for the court to unseal materials— including the company’s identity in the cloaked litigation before the federal district and appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.
Howell had set the hearing after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it would not review a lower-court order requiring the foreign financial entity — known in court papers simply as a “Corporation” owned by “Country A” — to comply, finding it in contempt, and imposing a $50,000 daily fine.
Howell said she would issue an order granting a “huge chunk” of the Reporters Committee’s request to make records public after she gave each side at least one month to confer about potential redactions to the sealed court motions and hearing transcripts in the case.
“We were very grateful the court held a hearing today. The court is clearly focused on assuring transparency to the greatest extent possible under the grand jury rules,” said Theodore Boutrous Jr, who led a team from the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm to litigate the case with the committee’s legal director Katie Townsend.
“We are looking forward to the court’s order and receiving more of the records, and having the case unsealed as soon as possible,” Boutrous said.
Boone did not respond to a request for comment. Jean Sexton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment beyond what was stated in court.
Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment beyond confirming the matter is being handled by Liu’s office.
Townsend and Boutrous said they appreciated that Howell said she would consider whether to release the name of the company, although she held off on a decision after noting the investigation remains ongoing.
Howell praised the committee for raising the issue, saying: “Transparency, particularly when it comes to judicial proceedings, is very important. There should be no secret law.”
Hours after the hearing involving the company, the U.S. attorney’s office and special counsel’s office made joint requests for two-week extensions in response to petitions by The Washington Post and other news organizations to unseal records related to the sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and to the indictment of Trump friend Roger Stone in Mueller’s investigation.
The Post opposed a request by prosecutors to have until April 15 to reply to its unsealing request over the Manafort case records. In the case of the request related to make public search warrants in the Stone case, The Post and other news organizations did not oppose prosecutors’ request to have until April 12 to reply.
Prosecutors in both cases asked for additional time, citing the end of Mueller’s investigation and explaining the matters are “being fully transitioned” to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Manafort, 69, was sentenced to a combined 7½ years in prison this month after being convicted in August at trial in Alexandria on bank- and tax-fraud charges and pleading guilty in September in Washington to two conspiracy counts of hiding millions he earned as an unregistered lobbyist for Ukrainian politicians over a decade and attempting to tamper with witnesses.
Stone, 66, has pleaded not guilty and faces a November trial on charges of lying to Congress and obstructing justice about his alleged efforts to gather information about hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.