The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from company resisting Mueller subpoena

(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would not review a lower-court order requiring an unnamed foreign-owned corporation to comply with a subpoena that is part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

As is customary, the court did not give a reason for turning down the company’s appeal, nor were there noted dissents.

The entity that is the subject of the cloaked legal battle — known in court papers simply as a “Corporation” from “Country A” — is a foreign financial institution that was issued a subpoena by a grand jury hearing evidence in the special counsel investigation.

It is thought to be the first time an aspect of Mueller’s wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign has reached the Supreme Court.

Mueller turned in his report to Attorney General William P. Barr last week, and it is unclear if he or other prosecutors will pursue the information his subpoena sought. The grand jury remains empaneled.

Next in Washington after Mueller: More investigations, more division — and an election

Last year, a federal court in Washington ordered the corporation to pay a daily fine of $50,000 until it complied with the subpoena, according to court records. An appeals court panel upheld that decision.

The panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said even though the subpoena targets a foreign entity, “there is a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena here concerns a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States.”

The appeals court concluded the foreign company is not immune from the reach of a U.S. grand jury.

The case was called In Re Grand Jury Subpoena.

A spokesman for Mueller’s office said the foreign state-owned mystery company subpoena matter will be handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Jean Sexton, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu’s office, would not describe next steps regarding the subpoena for documents, including whether it would or could be enforced or dropped, saying, “We have no comment at this time.”

Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this story.