A glimpse into the Blue Grand Jury Investigation

It has been a nearly impossible task to report on the inquiry conducted by Judge Patrick Schiltz in In Re Blue Grand Jury Investigation. Judge Schiltz was assigned to the grand jury that handed up federal indictments of Derek Chauvin et al. When he had reason to believe that leaks of grand jury information resulted in a February New York Times story and a late April Star Tribune story, Judge Schiltz commenced an investigation in a May 5 order that I posted in “The Chauvin leaks.” I followed up in “Notes on the Chauvin leaks” as well as a few other posts.

There has been no public disclosure of the status of this matter beyond what can be gleaned from the the docket entries. Every document in the case since the original order announcing the investigation has been filed under seal, although we can see that the investigation continues through the docket entries for the case on the publicly accessible ECF system.

I asked Judge Schiltz to make some kind of interim public disclosure if possible and he responded by letter in early July. I posted my email and his response in “Notes on the Chauvin leaks (5).” At that time he advised that public disclosure was inappropriate. Last week I called the court’s press representative to ask if that remained the case. After checking with Judge Schiltz’s chambers, she told me that it did.

I signed up for automated notice of filings in the case from its inception. This morning I received a notice that another letter had been filed in the investigation. I was disappointed to see that the docket reflected that it too was under seal.

When I clicked on the numerical docket entry for the letter, however, the letter materialized (below). I called Judge Schiltz’s chambers to apprise the judge that the letter had not been filed under seal and that I had downloaded a copy. I understood it would be placed under seal by the clerk’s office and, after consulting with John Hinderaker, let it ride while we thought about what to do with it.

Letter of Matthew Frank by Scott Johnson on Scribd

This afternoon I received notice of filing of Judge Schiltz’s letter below. I understand from Judge Schiltz’s letter that he deems the letter above from Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank to him public by virtue of my access to it. Judge Schiltz’s letter to Frank below is public.

Letter of Judge Schiltz by Scott Johnson on Scribd

These letters are self-explanatory. I have nothing to add except to reiterate my hope that Judge Schiltz can successfully conclude his investigation and that the public can be kept apprised of the progress of the investigation in some fashion consistent with its object.

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