Petraeus Investigation |Docs to Remain Sealed

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Several documents tied to the salacious privacy lawsuit Tampa socialite Jill Kelley brought against the FBI and Department of Defense in the wake of the Gen. David Petraeus scandal will remain secret, a federal judge ruled.
     Kelley and her husband Scott abandoned the suit last month, after nearly three years of fighting the FBI and Pentagon in court. They claimed the agencies defamed Jilly Kelley and invaded her privacy after her complaints of harassing emails revealed the extramarital affair that ended Petraeus’ career as director of the FBI.
     U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson Thursday agreed with the government’s requests to leave 19 documents in the case under seal, including parts of depositions with FBI employees and other documents that “contain or describe confidential statements provided to law enforcement investigators.”
     The government also argued some of the sealed files contained information about a criminal investigation that never lead to charges being filed, saying it is a “long-held” concept that details of criminal investigations should not be released before charges are filed, according to the government’s response to Jackson’s order for the parties in the case to inform her of which entries should remain sealed.
     Deciding the government “identified compelling confidentiality, privacy and law enforcement interests,” Jackson allowed the government to keep under seal all of the documents it requested remain hidden, though she did note some of the sealed documents had redacted, public copies.
     The AP reported the sealed documents include emails between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, the biographer with whom the general was having an affair, as well as others between Petraeus and Kelley.
     While Jackson found the Kelleys’ reasoning for keeping some documents in the case under wraps “weak and largely unsupported,” she ultimately came down in favor of granting their requests.
     “But the fact remains that plaintiffs objected to the unsealing of these documents, no one has asserted any public need for the material, no one will be prejudiced by the continuation of the seal, and the materials were provided solely for the purpose of resolving a discovery dispute and not in connection with the merits,” Jackson wrote.
     These included emails between Jill Kelley and her attorneys and other documents related to the publication of her book “Collateral Damage,” which came out last month.
     But Jackson did not honor Kelley’s request to keep secret some documents she said referenced the book and “could impair the value and profitability of Jill Kelley’s copyright” by making parts of it available to people without them having to buy it.
     The parts of the book in the sealed court records are “general descriptions” that the widespread coverage of the release have already made public, Jackson wrote.
     “So the fact that plaintiff was advancing a public relations campaign and orchestrating the publication of her book at the same time that she was seeking discovery from the defendants in what she characterized as a lawsuit to protect her privacy can be a matter of public record,” Jackson wrote.
     The government must file a redacted version of this document by May 20, Jackson ordered.
     Scott and Jill Kelley sued the FBI and Pentagon in 2013 after they claimed the FBI went on a “brazen overreaching” search and seizure campaign after the Kelleys came to the agency for help with threatening anonymous emails Jill received. An investigation later made it clear the emails came from Broadwell, leading to Petraeus’ resignation in 2012.
     The Kelleys’ Sidley Austin attorneys abandoned the case in March, leading to its voluntary dismissal.

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