Judge de­mands de­tails on search of anti-Trump site

The Washington Post - - RELIGION - BY KEITH L. ALEXAN­DER

A D.C. Su­pe­rior Court judge Friday or­dered pros­e­cu­tors to pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails about how they will sort through data from a web­site linked to In­au­gu­ra­tion Day protests with­out vi­o­lat­ing users’ pri­vacy and First Amend­ment rights.

Judge Robert E. Morin last month ruled that Los An­ge­les­based tech com­pany Dream Host must pro­vide au­thor­i­ties with emails and user in­for­ma­tion of in­di­vid­u­als who re­quested in­for­ma­tion from the anti-Trump web­site Dis­ruptj20.org. Pros­e­cu­tors sought the de­tails in con­nec­tion with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into vi­o­lent In­au­gu­ra­tion Day ri­ots.

Morin on Friday said pros­e­cu­tors have since failed to out­line how they plan to stream­line their searches so users of the web­site with no links to the ri­ots are not caught up in the process. Morin said he wanted to know who in the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice would re­view the data and what pros­e­cu­tors plan to do with in­for­ma­tion ob­tained that is not con­nected to their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The judge said that, “at this stage, the court an­tic­i­pated the govern­ment would have in­cluded pro­ce­dures, or at least method­ol­ogy, by which this min­i­miza- tion would oc­cur.”

The In­au­gu­ra­tion Day ri­ots left six po­lice of­fi­cers in­jured and caused tens of thou­sands of dol­lars in dam­age when down­town D.C. busi­nesses were van­dal­ized. Pros­e­cu­tors have filed felony ri­ot­ing charges against some 200 peo­ple who they say par­tic­i­pated.

Dream Host had chal­lenged an ini­tial re­quest from pros­e­cu­tors for data, say­ing it was overly broad. Pros­e­cu­tors later nar­rowed that re­quest, and Morin found the govern­ment had le­gal cause for the search and DreamHost must com­ply.

“The govern­ment must show a com­pelling in­ter­est when it seeks to com­pel dis­clo­sures, such as mem­ber­ship lists, that may in­di­rectly re­strict an in­di­vid­ual’s abil­ity to freely as­so­ciate,” Morin wrote.

DreamHost ex­ec­u­tives have said they are con­sid­er­ing ap­peal­ing the rul­ing re­quir­ing them to turn over the data.

Tri­als for de­fen­dants in the ri­ot­ing cases are set to be­gin in Novem­ber and con­tinue through 2018.

A spokesman for the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice de­clined to com­ment on Morin’s re­quest. A hear­ing has been set for Wed­nes­day.

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