Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI prepublication review and other records about former Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00894)).
The Justice Department failed to produce any records in response to its March 16, 2018 FOIA request for documents used for Comey’s book. Comey reportedly received an advance in excess of $2 million for his book that came out on April 17th. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said:
James Comey illegally took and then leaked material from his FBI memos in order to get a Special Counsel appointed to target President Trump. And so now Judicial Watch is asking questions about whether James Comey is getting special treatment from the FBI to use these ill-gotten FBI documents in his book.
Comey illegally took & leaked FBI documents to get a Special Counsel appointed to target @RealDonaldTrump. @JudicialWatch is asking questions about whether Comey got special treatment from the FBI to use these ill-gotten FBI docs in his book. https://t.co/sNN2Ru1PKU pic.twitter.com/obwZ6b88Va
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) April 24, 2018
This is the second Judicial Watch lawsuit over the Comey book deal. After Comey signed a book deal in August 2017, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request seeking FBI documents related to the deal and coordination on his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee– and received nothing. In January 2018, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Justice Department for failing to respond to these requests.
Comey may prove to be no match for Judicial Watch, which has filed several lawsuits against Comey and the FBI:
- In June 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the memorandum written by former Director James Comey memorializing his meeting and conversation with President Trump regarding the FBI’s investigation of potential Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01189)).
- In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking metadata of the “Comey memos” and related records-management information (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 17-cv-01520));
- In August 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the handling, storage, protection, dissemination, and/or return of classified information signed by Comey (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01624)).
- In September 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking memoranda allegedly written by former FBI Director James Comey regarding his discussions with President Donald Trump and Trump’s aides (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01830)).
- In January 2018, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the FBI to turn over the “Comey memos” for in camera review by the court. In doing so, the court rejected arguments by the Sessions Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuits seeking the Comey information. On February 2, Boasberg ruled that the “Comey memos” would not be made public. Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are appealing the ruling.