Bryan Carmody, First Amendment Coalition v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Bryan Carmody and First Amendment Coalition v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 20-cv-04809

Updated March 23, 2021: FAC and client Bryan Carmody reached a settlement with the FBI, after the government produced disclosable records and agreed to pay FAC $25,000 in attorney fees and costs. Read the court filing.

The First Amendment Coalition and journalist Bryan Carmody filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI after the agency refused to turn over documents related to late San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi in violation of the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. FAC and Carmody first requested the documents last year, following the May 2019 police raid on the journalist’s home and office after Carmody obtained a police report about Adachi’s death and declined to identify his source. FBI agents were present at the raid. In refusing to disclose responsive records, the FBI cited FOIA exemption 7(A), claiming their release may interfere with pending or prospective enforcement proceedings. However, the agency failed to meet its burden to show that withholding the records was justified, FAC explained to the FBI before filing suit. Carmody and FAC are represented by FAC Executive Director David Snyder, Litigation Director Glen Smith and Legal Fellow Sherene Tagharobi. 

The complaint
Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Date filed: July 17, 2020

Related: The FOIA lawsuit is the latest in FAC’s efforts to bring sunshine to the 2019 police raid of San Francisco journalist Bryan Carmody, an egregious attack on press freedom. FAC led a coalition to unseal court records related to the raid and then sued the San Francisco Police Department and Mayor London Breed in in December 2019 for additional records related to the ordeal. The case, filed under the California Public Records Act and San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance, is pending in San Francisco Superior Court. See more on The Bryan Carmody Story | In Depth