It isn’t clear how prosecutors made that case, for the reason that existence of the leak investigation and its material — which appeared to concentrate on James B. Comey Jr., the previous F.B.I. director, and a doc Russian hackers had stolen — was already public data; The Occasions had reported on it virtually a 12 months earlier. On Saturday, Mr. McCraw stated The Occasions would petition the decide to unseal the filings that prosecutors made laying out arguments in assist of the key order.
Throughout the transition to the Biden administration, at the least one official wrote in a memo for the incoming Biden crew that the Comey leak investigation that gave rise to the try to seize the reporters’ electronic mail data ought to be closed, in accordance with an individual acquainted with the matter.
After Mr. Biden took workplace, the administration positioned performing officers in key positions within the division whereas it waited for the president’s nominees to be confirmed by the Senate. John Carlin, a former Obama-era official, grew to become the performing deputy lawyer common, and Monty Wilkinson, a profession official, grew to become the performing lawyer common.
Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Carlin had been nonetheless in these roles on March 3, when a profession prosecutor dealing with the matter within the workplace of the USA lawyer for the District of Columbia, Tejpal Chawla, agreed to Google’s demand that somebody at The Occasions be instructed, in accordance with a contract the 2 firms agreed to when Google took over The Occasions’s electronic mail system.
Mr. Chawla requested the decide to switch the Jan. 5 order in order that Mr. McCraw may very well be instructed in regards to the battle, whereas additionally stopping him from telling anybody else. The division finally agreed to additional modifications allowing the corporate’s common counsel and outdoors attorneys to be instructed, together with two senior executives: A.G. Sulzberger, the writer, and Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief government.
However the division insisted that imposing a gag order on them as nicely was justified, so nobody was permitted to inform the general public or anybody within the Occasions newsroom, together with its government editor, Dean Baquet. Within the meantime, Lawyer Common Merrick B. Garland took workplace on March 11, however the battle continued on his look ahead to almost three extra months.
The dispute ended on Wednesday, when the division instructed Mr. McCraw that it was asking a decide to quash the order to Google with out having obtained the reporters’ knowledge.