In re Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest
The Law Center moved to unseal search warrant materials and related filings in connection with United States v. Leong et al., 21-CR-142 LEK. Search warrants typically are withheld from the public before an indictment is filed so that potential targets cannot prematurely learn about the criminal investigation and destroy evidence or flee the jurisdiction.
The motion was assigned to the Honorable Leslie E. Kobayashi. On October 21, 2022, Judge Kobayashi unsealed the case dockets and set a procedure for reviewing attorney-client privilege claims to certain documents. No. 22-MC-438. The unsealed dockets and additional documents subsequently unsealed revealed that the proceedings focused primarily on a process initiated by the Government to determine whether the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege applied to four recordings of conference calls among employees of the City and County of Honolulu concerning the process for paying former Honolulu Police Department Chief of Police Louis Kealoha $250,000 after he received a target letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Judge Kobayashi deferred ruling on further issues concerning claims of privilege by the City and County of Honolulu pending decision on certain motions filed by the Defendants in the underlying criminal case. The Defendants’ motions presented similar questions about the scope of attorney-client privilege and the crime-fraud exception, and resolution of the motions would impact whether various records should remain sealed. Once Judge Kobayashi resolves Defendants’ motion, the Law Center will have an opportunity to renew its request to unseal additional court records.
- Motion to Unseal Court Records (9/1/22)
- City’s Response (9/19/22)
- Government’s Response (9/22/22)
- Defendants’ Joint Response (9/22/22)
- Reply Memorandum (9/26/22)
- Order Granting in Part Motion to Unseal (10/21/22)
- City’s Letter Proposing Redactions (11/9/22)
- CBLC Response to City’s Letter (11/16/22)
- Government Response to City’s Letter (11/16/22)
- Defendant Leong’s Response to City’s Letter (11/16/22)
- Further Order on Motion to Unseal (2/8/23)
- City’s Letter Partially Responding to Further Order (2/14/23)
- Further Order in Response to City’s February 14 Letter (2/17/23)
- City’s Second Letter Responding to Further Order (2/21/23)
- Further Order in Response to City’s February 21 Letter (2/23/23)
- CBLC Response to City’s Second Letter (3/7/23)
- Government Response to Privilege Log (3/9/23)
- CBLC Response to Privacy Redactions (3/9/23)
- Government Letter (4/5/23)
- CBLC Letter regarding City’s Privacy Redactions (4/6/23)
- CBLC Letter regarding City’s Privilege Redactions (4/6/23)
- City’s Letter regarding Privilege and Privacy Redactions (4/19/23)
Related: Defendants filed several motions in the underlying criminal matter that address in part issues related to attorney-client privilege and the crime-fraud exception.
- Defendant Leong Motion to Dismiss for 10th Amendment and Due Process Violations (4/18/23)
- Defendant Amemiya Substantive Joinder in Motion (4/21/23)
- Government Response to Motion (5/9/23)
- Defendant Leong’s Reply (5/16/23)
- Minute Order (regarding supplemental briefing) (6/9/23)
- Defendants’ Joint Supplemental Memorandum [redacted] (7/20/23)
- Government Supplemental Memorandum [redacted] (8/9/23)
- Defendant Sword Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State an Offense (4/18/23)
- Defendant Leong Motion to Dismiss for Prosecutorial Misconduct (4/18/23)
- Defendants’ Motion to Defer Ruling on Motion to Unseal (4/25/23)
- Order Granting Motion to Defer Ruling (4/26/23)
Unsealed: Judge Kobayashi ordered numerous documents unsealed, but the City informed the Law Center on March 23 that, due to the City’s poor document review, several documents were “inadvertently” unsealed. Although the documents remain publicly accessible through court records, the Law Center has removed the unsealed documents from this site out of an abundance of caution until Judge Kobayashi reviews the City’s latest claims.