House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has refused to comply with a request pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for disclosure of video footage and emails related to the events of January 6, 2021, at the Capitol Building, claiming “sovereign immunity.”
Judicial Watch made the FOIA requests of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and has since filed an objection to the refusal to produce the requested information. In addition to claiming sovereign immunity, attorneys for Pelosi are arguing that the videos and emails are not “public records” and there is no “public interest” as defined by FOIA in their disclosure.
Judicial Watch has also filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking disclosure of email communications between the USCP Executive Team, the Capitol Police Board, the FBI, the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security regarding the security of the Capitol Building between January 1 and 10, 2021. The case also seeks the release of all video footage from inside and around the Capitol between 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on January 6, 2021.
Congress has exempted itself from lawsuits under FOIA, and Judicial Watch filed the case as a claim under common law for access to public records. The lawsuit alleges the right pursuant to Supreme Court precedent and the public right to know what the government “is up to.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said last month that Pelosi and the USCP are “telling a federal court it is immune from all transparency.” He described the government’s hypocrisy as “rich,” given the fact that Congress is threatening to jail witnesses called by the January 6 Committee for citing privileges in objection to producing documents.
Judicial Watch filed papers in another case last November objecting to the government’s refusal to disclose requested records of communications with the FBI and a group of financial institutions regarding transactions made by private citizens on January 5 and 6, 2021, in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.
The refusal to disclose documents and video continues as dozens of citizens remain jailed in D.C. related to the events of January 6. They are being deprived of evidence that could be useful in defeating charges against them and their constitutionally protected rights to bail and a speedy trial.